The Healthy Heart Center at Comanche County Memorial Hospital opened a new rehab gym inside the hospital for heart patients to safely exercise in. A person’s heart weakens after having a heart attack or an open-heart surgery, so they need to build and strengthen their heart, which is why the Healthy Heart Center offers this program.

Doctor Eugen Ivan, the Healthy Heart Center Medical Director at CCMH, said when patients start the program, they get detailed information about living a healthy heart lifestyle.

“And they will also be slowly brought into an exercise program depending on their baseline activity, age, and fitness level,” Dr. Ivan said.

It’s tailored to their specific condition.

“We’re staffed by licensed nurses that are ACLS certified, which means they are trained in lifesaving techniques,” Nick Eimers-Mosier, supervisor for the Healthy Heart Center, said. “So, if a patient were to have any type of myocardial event, they would be able to intervene.”

“It’s very helpful because you have nurses that are right here with you,” heart patient Rob Rooker said. “They will monitor you at all times and not let you do anything that would be dangerous, to where if you go to other gyms they say come on, come on push, push, push, and sometimes you may push too hard.”

Rooker is working on his heart after having a stent placed back in January. But, this isn’t his first time to benefit from the program that’s been around for about 20 years.

“In 2011, I had a major heart attack and had 5 bypasses,” he said.

Like many of us exercising isn’t his favorite but he keeps going twice a week because he knows that it’s helping him.

“I can feel it strengthening my heart,” Rooker said. “Like the way you feel when you exercise or when you’re doing something around the house, you can do it longer, faster, and better.”

COVID did cause those working out at the Healthy Heart Program to temporarily stop coming in, but they’re back, and the program is screening patients and staff. The hospital is still taking safety precautions to ensure our patient’s safety.

“The other thing that we’ve done is made modifications to the gym itself,” Eimers-Mosier said. “We created individualized patient stations. When a patient enters for their prescribed exercise therapy, we put them at a specific station. They’ll exercise on that equipment for the entirety of their visit. This minimizes any type of movement throughout the gym and also reduces the chances for any cross-contamination.”

People in the program can come and workout up to two to three times a week for an hour. After they finish the program, they enter what they call their maintenance program. This is where the staff works with the patient to make sure they are continuing their healthy heart lifestyle.