Cardiac Rehabilitation Program


UNH Kinesiology man stretching

Dr. Robert Kertzer developed the UNH Cardiac Rehabilitation Program in 1978. Dr. Kertzer, a trained Exercise Scientist and avid reader of literature related to exercise and cardiac disease, was convinced that the optimal treatment for cardiac disease was not bed rest but, instead, aerobic exercise. Therefore, in collaboration with Dr. Gladstone, an exercise program for cardiac patients was developed on the campus of the University of New Hampshire. This program was the first of its kind in the state of New Hampshire and it became the model from which all other cardiac exercise programs in the state would be based. Today, the program continues and has developed to comprise a variety of modalities including strength training.

The Program

Kinesiology student monitoring man's cardiac test

The University of New Hampshire Cardiac Rehabilitation program is run out of the Department of Kinesiology. Exercise sessions (M-W-F) begin at 6:15 am and end at 7:45 am. Exercise sessions begin with a warm-up of slow aerobic activities designed to increase heart rate, body temperature, and flexibility. Progressive stretching and calisthenics follow this activity portion. An aerobic and resistance program follows, lasting approximately 45 minutes.

Individuals are encouraged to walk (or jog if appropriate) for at least 20 of the 45 minutes. Additional activities include cycling, rowing, treadmill walking or jogging, stair stepping, or cross-country skiing on stationary equipment. Also, individuals are encouraged to perform strength-building exercises using Nautilus and free weight equipment or resistance bands in the fitness center. All activities are individually prescribed and participants are monitored by staff.

Kinesiology student walking with a man on indoor track

You and your physician can be updated on your progress as requested. Yearly treadmill tests are encouraged and can be performed by your cardiologist, personal physician, or by the Exercise Science faculty. 

The UNH Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is also a training site for UNH graduate and undergraduate students in Exercise Science. Students perform duties in the program and report to the Program Director. We also publish a bi-annual newsletter and provide periodic presentations and seminars which occur after the exercise session.

Who is the Program For?
The Phase III and IV Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the University of New Hampshire are for anyone with coronary artery disease (CAD) who wishes to improve their overall health and well-being. Spouses of those with CAD are also welcome to participate in the program. Likewise, those without diagnosed CAD but who have known factors contributing to an increased risk for CAD (smoking, overweight, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol) are welcome to join our UNH Cardiac Prevention Program.

What are the Benefits of the Program?
Among the many benefits of regular physical activity are improvements in an individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living, an improvement in psychological well-being, decreases in body fat, blood pressure and blood cholesterol, improved blood glucose control, increased bone mineral density and a decreased risk for re-occurrence of a cardiac event.

Individuals interested in the program should contact:

Deborah Feairheller, PhD, FACSM
Dept. of Kinesiology
New Hampshire Hall #G25
124 Main Street
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-3282

Kinesiology students leading a group exercise

A recent treadmill graded exercise test is required before program enrollment. Once this, your medical history and physician clearance are accepted, you will be contacted to schedule a time for orientation into the program. Participation in the program will begin after the orientation.

The fee for this program is $7.00 per session. The fee is used to offset costs associated with the program including emergency equipment and staff. This fee does not include any costs that you may incur as a result of seeing your cardiologist or personal physician.