Imaging of the blockage and stent location

Outdoors People Don’t Need to Be Victims of the...

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Outdoors People Don’t Need to Be Victims of the Silent Killers of Heart Disease and Strokes Day 5: Know about Cardiac Rehab and How it Can Improve Your Strength for Hunting and Fishing – All Photos by Emma Grace Phillips

John E. Phillips being hooked up to a heart monitor
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Editor’s Note: If you love to hunt and fish, and you want to be able to enjoy the outdoors as long as you possibly can, then read and learn from this week’s information. I never can remember a time that I haven’t participated in outdoor activities. For the last 45 years, I’ve been an outdoor writer, hunting and fishing in just about every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries. However, along the way, I’ve seen some of my friends and colleagues having to shorten their outdoor careers due to heart disease. This week, I’ll tell you what’s happened to me, what I’ve done, why, and what my outcome has been. I’ve learned that anytime you can talk to someone who’s going through an experience that you may be facing, you can learn plenty and not be nearly as apprehensive, as you will have been if you don’t know what’s happening to you.

Nurse positioning a blood pressure cuff on John's armThree to four weeks after I had the stent put in my artery (see Day 4), I began cardiac rehab at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, – not knowing what cardiac rehab was about, or what I would do there. However, since my friend and mentor, J. Wayne Fears, had gone through this program three months earlier, he explained to me what to expect. “The nurses and physical therapists will start you off slowly on the exercise machines. You’ll think, ‘This is a piece of cake! I don’t really feel like I’m doing anything, and I don’t understand how this small bit of exercise will help me get in shape.’ They’ll put four monitors on your chest to monitor your heart while you’re exercising, your dissolved oxygen content and other factors that will help them determine how hard you’re having to work on each machine, and/or whether theyJohn on an exercise machine need to reduce the length of time and exercise that you’re doing, or whether they need to increase the amount of time and exercise. The program lasts about three months and is paid for generally by your insurance company. By the end of that three months, they’ll have you to where you can chase cars and bite tires. This exercise program will help you maintain a level of fitness, so you can continue to hunt and fish, until you get to be a very-old man. Another advantage to this program is that your insurancecompany may offer a program similar to Blue Cross/Blue Shields’ Silver Sneakers Program ( that allows you to continue to do the same exercises you’ve done in cardiac rehab at a local gym. And, generally you don’t have to pay for a gym membership. So, this is a long-term program to help you stay fit, be able to write, hunt, fish and be healthy for much longer than if you haven’t had a stent put in your artery and gone through cardiac rehab.”John steps on to an exercise machine

Not wanting to look like a goofball, I asked Fears, “What do you wear when you go to cardiac rehab?” He explained that the guys usually wear shorts, t-shirts and athletic shoes (jogging or walking shoes), or they wear sweatpants – whatever they feel comfortable in likeNurse checking John's vitals they’ll wear at a gym. The ladies usually wear gym clothes too. These programs have nurses’ on-hand who monitor everything you’re doing and explain to you why you’re doing the exercises you are, and how this program will help your overall health.

So, the first time I went to cardio rehab, I had a fairly-good idea of what this program was, and how it was set-up. We exercised on different machines that helped all the people in the program strengthen their hearts and circulatory systems without overexertion.John exercising in cardiac rehab

As Fears told me, “The nurses will bring you along slowly in your exercise program. When you’re through at the end of the three months, you’ll feel like you’re 30-years old. Too, you’ll be able to fish and hunt, longer and easier and without damaging your heart or your body.”

John walks on a treadmillTo sum-up this adventure I’m going through, I’ve realized that we can be in the outdoors and continue to do the outdoor activities we’ve always done – hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, sailing, boating, wildlife photography, ocean fishing and gulf fishing. But now, I feel better, I should live longer, and I have a brighter future than if I hadn’t gotten the stent and done therehab. Modern medicine allows us to live longer, do more and feel better than ever before. All we have to do is pay attention to our bodies. When they tell us something’s notright, go to the doctor, listen to what he says, and realize that whatever he prescribes is in the hope that you’ll be able to have a better, healthier and longer life than if you haven’t sought his advice and taken the medicine prescribed or participated in the treatment.

Cover: Secrets for Hunting Elk

To learn more about hunting elk successfully, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Secrets for Hunting Elk,” available in Kindle and  Audible at or copy and paste this click into your browser. On the right side of the Audible information for this book and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy theAudible with one click. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon allows you to read 10% of the book for free). Also look for John‘s new Kindle book, due out July 26, 2021,“Elk: Keys to 23 More Hunters’ Success” that you can find at Check out too John E. Phillips’ book, “Whitetail Deer and the Hunters Who Take Big Bucks,” available in Kindle, print Cover: Whitetail Deer and the Hunters Who Take Big Bucksand Audible versions at

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