I’m experimenting with heavier weights and increasing my cardio endurance with guidance. The Program helps me understand my limits.

GoodLife gears up the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre with the latest equipment

Last week, GoodLife Fitness delivered new fitness equipment to Toronto Western Hospital and Toronto Rehab’s Rumsey Centre. The two locations are connected with the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) and provide services to more than 2,500 patients annually as part of University Health Network’s (UHN’s) Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program. New treadmills, upright and recumbent bikes and elliptical machines will upgrade the fitness facilities at these locations to help patients connect with physical activity as part of their continuum of care.

Our partnership with GoodLife was established in 2012 through a $5-million gift to the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. The goal was – and still is – to create the best possible cardiac rehabilitation program and further research in this field. In 2014, the program’s Medical Director, Dr. Paul Oh became the inaugural GoodLife Fitness Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.

“Exercise is a vital part of living with heart disease – people who exercise have a much higher chance of successful recovery and improved long-term outcomes than those who don’t,” says Dr. Oh. “Thanks to GoodLife’s ongoing support we’ve been able to provide patients with a great space to work on their heart health through exercise.”

Tony Cesta is part of the cardiac rehabilitation program and has been working with cardiac rehab exercise therapists to build up an exercise routine along with his recovery treatment. Despite being physically active all his life, 10 years ago Tony learned he had a blockage in one of his main arteries. When the blockage grew to 90 per cent, he was admitted to hospital to have a stent installed.

Before the procedure, Tony never felt any chest pain and was exercising at a high level. After the procedure, it was important to allow the stent to heal, while resuming a more moderate level of exercise.

GoodLife Fitness Club Services Associates deliver fitness equipment to Toronto Rehab’s Rumsey Centre.

Now, Tony is half way through the six-month Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program. As a lifelong hockey player and long-distance runner, his challenge is different from many patients. He has received a prescription for exercise and is learning how to regulate and control his heart during physical activity. He has also reintroduced resistance training to his fitness routine to balance out the cardio.

“Most patients are recovering from more serious heart issues including heart attacks, bypass surgery and transplants. Some have not exercised before and are starting from scratch. I have always been very active, so for me, the challenge is to build up my tolerance and not push myself too hard,” says Tony. “I wear a heart rate monitor and pay attention to my breathing to make sure I’m exercising in a safe zone. That control is what I needed for peace of mind and to recover effectively. I want to know I’m not doing damage.”

With the help of the Program, Tony hopes to get back to his previous fitness level and continue being active. He says he’s benefiting from the expertise and access to equipment at the Rumsey Centre. “I’m running and cycling five times a week, as well as doing resistance exercises twice a week. I’m experimenting with heavier weights and increasing my cardio endurance with guidance. The Program helps me understand my limits,” he says.

David ‘Patch’ Patchell-Evans, Founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness says, “We know the critical role that physical activity plays in heart health and rehabilitation. GoodLife is proud to support the incredible medical professionals at the PMCC with the best equipment and expertise to reinforce the continuum of care for patients with heart disease by introducing fitness to their rehabilitation.”

For patients in the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, the collaboration with GoodLife Fitness means greater access to the latest cardiac rehabilitation and preventative techniques and equipment; a supportive environment to strive for their rehabilitation goals, overall improved health and wellness and a significantly decreased likelihood of another cardiac episode.