Doctors writing prescriptions to get patients active

At Toronto Rehab hospital, doctors have found that people living with heart disease who exercise regularly have a 50 per cent lower chance of dying than cardiac patients who don't work out.

Kimberley Harris, 42, goes to Toronto Rehab to follow her prescription to walk an 18-minute mile twice a day and lift light weights two or three times a week, all in the hopes of delaying the heart transplant she needs.

Harris was born with a very rare heart condition. Following reconstructive heart surgery as a teen, she had a heart attack in her mid-30s and now has a mechanical valve and an implanted defibrillator.

"It is part of my recovery prescription," Harris said of the exercise routine. "It is just as good as the eight drugs that I take daily. It helps my head a lot more than the drugs do."

"We think that exercise is helpful in every condition that we could think of," said Dr. Paul Oh, medical director of the cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation program. "For brain health, for heart health, for cancer, for arthritis, the benefits are so large."

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