Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) programs are the most cost-effective measure for reducing morbidity associated with Coronary Vascular Disease (CVD). To be more effective there is a need to understand what influences the maintenance of healthy behaviors. This study identifies similar and different influences in CR of the United Kingdom (UK) and New Zealand (NZ).
A retrospective study. Participants had previously been discharged from CR for 6 to 12+ months within the UK (n = 22) and NZ (n = 21). Participant’s attended a focus group. Discussions were digitally recorded, transcribed then thematically analyzed. The CR programs were observed over 2 months to enable comment on findings relating to ‘theory in practice.’
Similar positive patient experiences influencing behavior between groups and countries were; support, education, positive attitude, and motivation. Companionship and exercising alongside people with similar health problems was the major determinant for positive exercise behavior. Barriers to maintaining exercise included; physical disabilities, time constraints, and weather conditions. NZ participants were more affected by external factors (eg, opportunity, access, and time).
Both CR programs were successful in facilitating the maintenance of healthy lifestyles. Exercising with other cardiac patients for support in a structured environment was the strongest influence in maintaining healthy lifestyles beyond CR programs.
Dunn is with St. Catherines Hospital, Wirral Heart Support Centre, Chester, United Kingdom. Lark is with the School of Sport and Exercise Science, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. Fallows is with the Centre of Exercise and Nutrition, University of Chester, Chester, Cheshire, United Kingdom.