In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

May 8, 2014

Taking full advantage of a spare

By Elizabeth Harty

Bowling760The heart attack came when Doug DeMarce was just 62 years old. "It got my attention in a hurry," the Mankato, Minnesota, resident recently told Mankato's KEYC-TV. So much so, it seems, that the first thing he did after getting back on his feet was to enroll himself in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato to help make sure he didn't find himself in that situation again.

By doing so, the program's website suggests, Doug has effectively slashed his chances of experiencing additional heart problems by 25 percent through the program's focus on exercise, education and counseling. It's a balanced treatment program that Clinical Exercise Specialist Chip Gay tells KEYC-TV is specifically designed to help patients like Doug strengthen their hearts, bodies and minds, so they can get back to life as they know it as quickly as possible. "Exercise is one of the most powerful medicines you can ever take," he tells KEYC-TV.

Aside from a healthier heart, body and mind, however, Doug tells KEYC-TV he's seen a more tangible benefit from his participation in the cardiac rehab program:  One that he's pretty excited about but one that the program's designers may not have seen coming. "I started to notice that my bowling was getting better," he says.

Doug tells KEYC-TV that before his heart attack this past December, he had an average bowling score of 200. After enrolling in the cardiac rehab program and starting in on some strength training exercises, however, he says that average score started to climb. "By the time I got started on the strength training, my scores really took off," he says. "The last 12 weeks of the season I had an average of 222."

The program's strength training sessions may not be the only reason for Doug's improved bowling scores, however. He tells KEYC-TV that the program's educational component may have also had something to do with it. "I think that the strength training plus the fact that I'm on probably a little bit more of a heart healthy diet, so I lost a few pounds," he says. It all helped him improve his balance and " stay more consistent." More consistent, KEYC-TV concludes, by participating in a program that's "spared his life"  -- a pun we can only assume was fully intended. (We figure you picked that up, too.)

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Tags: Patient Stories

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