Physiotherapy Or Physiohealth Data Verified

Effects of Physiotherapy on Cardiovascular System

Written by
Kayathri P.
and medically reviewed by Mohammed Wajid

Published on Oct 13, 2022 and last reviewed on Feb 03, 2023   -  5 min read


Physiotherapy has more positive effects on the cardiovascular system pre and post-surgeries too. Read this article to know more about it.


Exercise and regular physical activity can reduce the risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Physiotherapy (PT) can help in regulating the blood flow and proper functioning of the heart. A sedentary lifestyle not only leads to obesity but also is an underlying cause of the majority of diseases.

Why Should Physiotherapy Be Done?

  • Physiotherapy is done to restore movement and function in an individual who is affected by injury, illness, or disability through non-surgical methods.

  • It is more like an exercise and targets the well-being of the individual.

  • It also helps build back strength in the body after a major injury.

  • Physiotherapy involves transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), magnetic therapy, stretches, and exercises.

What Are Cardiovascular Diseases?

Cardiovascular diseases are a wide range of diseases that affect the heart and its vessels. They are the leading cause of death around the globe. Some cardiovascular diseases include hypertension, ischemic heart disease, angina, myocardial infarction, dyspnea, heart failure, and arrhythmias.

When to Do Physical Therapy?

An exercise is also a form of stress that can loaden the heart with extra work. Heart rate, stroke volume, and systolic blood pressure increase during exercise. So, the cardiac output increases, resulting in improved blood flow to the muscles we are working on. This is how endurance training is done to improve cardiorespiratory fitness.

Can Physiotherapy Be Done After Cardiac Surgery?

  1. Physiotherapy is done on patients having cardiovascular problems after risk stratification is done.

  2. After the concerned doctor approves of physiotherapy, many kinds of treatments are given, like breathing exercises, incentive spirometry, and huffing and coughing.

  3. The treatment varies according to the disease severity. Physiotherapy even helps to prevent some cardiovascular problems. After assessing the risk factors, individualized treatment plans are given by physiotherapists to prevent heart diseases.

  4. Right after heart surgery, the cardiorespiratory function is impaired, and patients are advised to move and do some breathing exercises. This is called early mobilization, and it is done to reduce post-operative complications, bring back the impaired cardiorespiratory function, reduce the length of hospital stay and get back to routine.

Will Physical Inactivity Cause Cardiovascular Problems?

Moderate forms of exercise are always advised to have good heart health. Being in bedrest is the sickest state according to the health-activity spectrum. Bedrest is common in stroke, coma, spinal injury, and old age. Other than that, even lower limb injuries and abnormalities can immobilize patients. Immobilization, in turn, causes muscular atrophy, leading to wasting those muscles and weakening. Also, there will be declined heart function and loss in bone density if the period is prolonged.

How Is Physiotherapy Done?

Physiotherapy is started only after conducting the fitness test. Some cardiac patients are contraindicated for this test. The fitness test is done in physiotherapy clinics and fitness specialties and is not a diagnostic procedure in a lab setting. This is usually done on a treadmill, and blood pressure and ECG (electrocardiogram) are recorded. Any exercise given to the individual is unique and has these five components:

  1. Frequency.

  2. Intensity.

  3. Time.

  4. Type.

  5. Rate of progression.

Based on the patient’s coping skills and ability, the exercises are customized by the therapist.

What Is Cardiac Rehabilitation?

It is done for people with heart disease or those who have recovered from heart surgeries to restore health and educate and train them for betterment. Cardiac rehabilitation programs have many types of exercises. Aerobic exercises are low-intensity exercises, and they use up oxygen for energy. Anaerobic exercises are high-intensity exercises, and they do not require oxygen. Cardiac rehabilitation is done immediately after surgery in some patients.


Cardiac rehabilitation is indicated in the following cardiac patients:

  • Patients who recently had myocardial infarction are stable.

  • Patients with acute coronary artery syndrome.

  • Patients with stable CHF (congestive heart failure).

  • Patients who have undergone coronary artery bypass surgery.

  • Patients who have undergone heart transplantation.

  • Patients who have chronic stable angina.

  • Patients who have undergone valvular surgery.

  • Patients with cardiomyopathy.

  • Patients who have had cerebral vascular disease.


The following patients are contraindicated for cardiac rehabilitation program:

  • Patients who have unstable angina.

  • Patients who have uncontrolled arrhythmias.

  • Patients who have third-degree atrioventricular block and with no pacemaker.

  • Patients who have had embolism recently.

  • Patients with uncontrolled diabetes.

  • Patients with acute myocarditis.

  • Patients who have severe orthopedic problems.

  • Patients who have other metabolic problems such as hypovolemia and acute thyroiditis.

  • Patients who have thrombophlebitis.

  • Patients with decompensated congestive heart failure.

  • Patients with acute systemic illness or fever.

What Are the Phases of Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation consists of three phases:

1. Phase One: The clinical phase begins by assessing the patient’s ability to perform basic exercises. It is done after being diagnosed with a heart problem. Physiotherapists and nurses teach patients various exercises to restore form and function. In addition, they teach ADLs (activities of daily living) like combing hair, sitting on a chair, dressing up, etc. The rehabilitation team also assesses whether the patient needs any assistive devices.

2. Phase Two: This phase is outpatient cardiac rehabilitation. After discharge and the cardiologist’s consent, this phase begins. It can last up to 12 weeks and as short as six weeks. In this phase, the patient is engaged in vigorous training followed by rest. This is done to make the patient return back to a normal routine.

3. Phase Three: This phase lasts around 6 to 12 weeks and is a structured exercise program component. It involves doing exercises that improve flexibility and strengthening. Risk stratification is done during this process.

Risk Factor Classification:


4. Phase Four: In this phase, the patients should be transferred to a long-term rehabilitation program if they are medically stable. They can do aerobic and strengthening exercises as they wish in this phase.


Patients who have had cardiac problems or have undergone surgery can return to their normal physical activity after undergoing proper physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Pre and post-surgery physiotherapy is important for restoring the normal health of the individual.


Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Benefit of Physiotherapy Over Cardiovascular Diseases?

Physiotherapy helps restore lost health and function in patients with cardiovascular conditions that cause debilitating effects in the patient. It helps in improving the quality of life of patients affected with cardiac disorders. Physiotherapy strengthens the muscles and also helps slow the progression of existing cardiac problems and other conditions.


What Does Physiotherapy Aim to Achieve in Cardiovascular Disorders?

Physical therapy is aimed at rehabilitating patients with cardiovascular diseases. The following goals are met during physical therapy:
- Regular physical exercise.
- Smoking cessation.
- Optimizing blood pressure, lipid levels, and blood glucose levels. 
- Body weight management.
- Lifestyle modification.
- Risk factor stratification.
- Nutritional advice.
- Psychosocial support.


What Is the Importance of Physical Therapy Over the Cardiovascular System?

Regular physical activity is important for everyone. Especially in patients with cardiovascular diseases, it helps control the progression of the disease. In people with a risk of acquiring cardiac disorders, it can be prevented by physical therapy and a few lifestyle modifications.


What Is the Effect of Physiotherapy on Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary artery disease occurs when there is an interruption in blood supply to the heart due to the narrowing of the arteries. Affected patients may have various physical and emotional challenges that can be met by physical therapy. Physiotherapists help identify potential disabilities and restore lost function through various exercises.


Is There a Best Treatment for Heart Disease?

The treatment for any heart disorder depends on the cause of the disease. In mild cases, it can be managed by medications and lifestyle medication. In severe cases, surgeries like bypass surgeries, angioplasty, and heart valve surgeries may be required.


What Exercises Does Cardiac Rehabilitation Include?

Cardiac rehabilitation includes resistance training, exercise training, stability training, and coordination training. They are alternated along with 30 minutes of aerobic activities daily. These exercises should be done as far as tolerated, and the patient should not exert much.


What Is the Connection Between Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease?

Physical activity on a regular basis can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Physical activity tends to reduce cholesterol and aids in weight management. These being the major cause of many cardiac problems, can thus be prevented. It should also be noted that physical inactivity is one of the risk factors for developing cardiovascular disorders.


What Physical Activities Can Be Done to Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease?

All the aerobic activities will help improve heart health. It also helps in improving endurance, strength, and stamina. The aerobic activities include jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking. They can be done 30 to 40 minutes a day for five days a week.


What Are the Types of Physiotherapy?

There are many categories in physiotherapy. However, they are broadly classified into the following:
- Neurological Physiotherapy: Aims to restore health and function in patients affected by neurological problems such as stroke and multiple sclerosis. 
- Cardiovascular Physiotherapy: Aims to restore health and function in patients affected by cardiac disorders such as coronary artery disease. Physiotherapy also helps improve the strength and endurance of the patients. 
- Pediatric Physiotherapy: Aims at reducing pain, and improving flexibility, range of motion, motor skills, and control in infants, kids, and adolescents. 
- Geriatric Physiotherapy: Aims to restore function in the geriatric population affected with many cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and neurological problems.


How Does Cardiac Rehabilitation Differ From Physical Therapy?

Cardiac rehabilitation refers to physical therapy activities to prevent and manage cardiac disorders. It is done in patients who have been diagnosed with a cardiac disorder. Physical therapy refers to the overall rehabilitation to restore health and function after an injury, trauma, or post-surgery.


What Do the Three Main Treatments of Cardiovascular Disease Include?

Surgery, medication, and cardiac rehabilitation are the three main treatment modalities for managing cardiovascular diseases. Along with them, identifying the risk factors and eliminating them can help prevent the progression of the disease. Any underlying medical condition that has precipitated the cardiac problem should be controlled.


What Are the Six Treatment Ways for Cardiovascular Disease?

There are various ways to manage cardiovascular diseases:
- The cause of the disease is identified, and medications are prescribed, which vary depending on the type of disorder and severity. 
- Surgery, along with a few lifestyle modifications post-surgery, is advised. 
- In cases of serious conditions, like irreversible heart damage, a heart transplant may be necessary. 
- Any underlying conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes that have triggered the cardiovascular condition should be eliminated or controlled.
- Risk factors for developing cardiac conditions, such as alcohol intake, and smoking, should be avoided.
- Regular exercise and proper diet should be followed by the affected patients and those at risk. 


Does Exercise Lower Heart Blockage?

Exercise does not directly help reduce heart blocks. Exercise helps the individual stay fit and active. Regular exercise will help in improving circulation and thereby reduce the risk of blood clots or blockages forming in the arteries.


What Duration Does It Take To Strengthen the Heart?

Regular walking for 30 to 40 minutes a day, five days a week, is essential in cardiac patients. Aerobic activities such as walking, swimming, running, and cycling can help improve stamina. Aerobic capacity and muscle strengthening will increase in eight to twelve weeks if done consistently. This will ultimately strengthen the heart.


Does Walking Reduce Heart Blockage?

Walking is important for heart health. It helps improve heart health by strengthening the muscles and helps in preventing artery damage caused due to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Lifestyle changes, including walking, smoking cessation, exercise, and a healthy diet, can prevent the risk of a heart attack.

Last reviewed at:
03 Feb 2023  -  5 min read




Related Questions & Answers

Do high CRP and hs-CRP indicate cardiovascular problems?

Query: Hi doctor,I am 26 years old with a weight of 60 kilograms. I am taking asthma inhalers and allergy medicines. My CRP and hs-CRP levels are present in borderline. I have an LDL cholesterol of 96 mg/dL and the rest of the lipids are normal. How to lower the levels of CRP, hs-CRP, and LDL? Am I at a hi...  Read Full »

Physiotherapy - Fall Prevention in Geriatric Population

Article Overview: Fall among older adults is very common and can lead to various complications, such as the development of fear of falling down, hip fracture, and other musculoskeletal injuries. Know how physiotherapy plays a significant role in fall prevention in older adults. Read Article

Ranjeet Singha
Ranjeet Singha

Introduction: Fall is widespread in the elderly population. Because of a fall, the person might suffer associated injuries such as a fracture of the femur or other musculoskeletal injuries, which may lead to impairment and disability, decrease mobility, and thus reduced community-level participation...  Read Article

Physiotherapy and Osteoporosis

Article Overview: Physiotherapy is an effective way for the management of osteoporosis. This article explains how it assists in pain management and improving posture. Read Article

Muthu Laakshmi. G
Muthu Laakshmi. G

What Is Osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a bone disease caused by a decrease in bone mineral density and mass, as well as a change in bone quality or structure. This can cause loss of bone strength, increasing the risk of fractures. What Are the Risk Factors for Osteoporosis? Risks that cannot be avoid...  Read Article

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Physiotherapy or Cardiovascular?

Ask an expert Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: Wellness medicine is not aimed to replace the services of your treating physician or allopathy medicines. Our site's information is to those who are willing to take responsibility for their health, being fully aware that the content published herein would not qualify as a prescription or specific medical advice. If users use the information and stop prescribed medication without their physician's consent, they bear full responsibility for their actions, and iCliniq-Wellness bears no responsibility for the same. Information on Wellness medicine should not be misinterpreted as a cure for any illness, as our body is complex and everyone reacts differently.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.