Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Benefits of CARG by Larry Mullen and Anne Smart

Benefits of CARG by Larry Mullen and Anne SmartLarry Mullen writes: In June of 2002 I suffered a heart attack, and entered the C.A.R.G. program that September. My condition was such that stents, angioplasties and/or other surgery were not advised. Weight loss was paramount. Six months after my heart attack I had lost fifty pounds and was attending C.A.R.G. programs regularly. (Forty of those pounds have stayed off to this day). Over the years many people in the program have commented to me that the support system provided by C.A.R.G. has been crucial in helping them maintain an exercise program to stay healthy. I seriously doubt I could have maintained a healthy routine on my own. Not only is the regular exercise program necessary but also the educational sessions provided in the yellow shirt program were critical in pointing out the hows and whys of a sound and proper program for survival. We are fortunate in Saskatoon to have one of the best cardiac rehab programs in Canada.

Anne Smart (Larry's wife) responds: I first joined C.A.R.G. as Larry's support person, wearing a white shirt in the Field House and wielding a knife in the kitchen. We had to chop up an endless number of vegetables to comply with the advice that he cut butter, cheese, eggs, red meat and salt out of his diet. How do you feed a guy without those staples? And how do you get out the door to exercise when it's thirty below? We learned to do it and it paid off. Larry hasn't had an angina attack since he was first hospitalized. A few years later it was my turn. After complaining of shortness of breath I had a nuclear scan, following a stress test, which showed significant blockages to some of my arteries. No other symptoms but not a surprise. Cardiovascular disease is endemic in my family. Since I was already plugged into the exercise and diet routine I needed only to add medication to stabilize my condition. My family doctor has told me the C.A.R.G. program has made a "huge difference to my health, just a huge difference". Before all this happened I used to watch in awe the large number of red shirts marching around the track. I called "them" the "walking wounded" - for the red colour and the fact that all of "them" had had a heart "event". Now I'm one of "them" I've discovered a whole community of very strong and friendly souls who keep me going. Thanks to you all for your smiles

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