John K. Howcroft

Exercise after a heart attack

Working out in a gym was nothing new to John K. Howcroft. He was a certified fitness instructor back in the 1980s and familiar with various weightlifting and aerobics equipment.

But taking on a workout regimen following major heart surgery was a different matter.

Howcroft had suffered a heart attack in March 2016, resulting in surgery and complications. Following his immediate care at Spartanburg Regional Heart Center, he was in ICU for three weeks.

He was tired and weak. Mostly, he was nervous. How would his body respond to serious exertion? Any odd feeling or slight pain – was it another health crisis?

The team at Spartanburg Regional’s Heart Wellness cardiac rehabilitation program provided Howcroft with a sense of security. He took classes on fitness and nutrition, and staff members tailored exercise therapy to support his recovery.

“First of all, they make sure you’re safe,” Howcroft said.

Howcroft appreciated the staff members’ attention and expertise, and their quick, professional response to problems.

Encouragement and moral support were important, too.

“I’ve never been around a group of people who are so compassionate. They treat every patient’s needs differently, and I’ve never seen a staff member be anything less than 100 percent supportive.”

Howcroft, who lives in Inman, completed the wellness classes but continues to visit the cardiac rehab gym three times a week to work out. He says he’s still got work to do, but is on the upswing.

“I’m not kidding myself – I still get tired sometimes. But I feel a whole lot better because of this program,” he said.

Staff members at the Heart Wellness Center greet Howcroft with smiles and tease him about his workout attire. They are friends as well as highly-skilled helpers – and Howcroft is grateful.

“They give you the confidence that there will be a tomorrow, and that tomorrow will be better than today,” he said.

We invite you to learn more about SRHS cardiac rehab services and the Spartanburg Regional Foundation Heart Division.