If you or a loved one has recently experienced a cardiac event such as a stroke or a heart attack, the road to recovery may seem like a long one. There are many factors to consider when rehabilitating one's health. But learning how to begin that process can make the task more bearable. One of the first steps toward gaining better overall health is establishing a regular exercise routine. Here are a few quick tips:

Motivate yourself properly

Ask any trainer or fitness professional and they will tell you without hesitation that motivation is the key to establishing a successful fitness routine. In order to gain motivation following a heart attack or stroke, it's important that you remind yourself of what you're working toward. For example, Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy reports that exercising following heart attack or stroke can help reduce your risk of mortality, help you quit smoking, reduce your risk of another heart attack or stroke, and help you feel greater psychological wellbeing.

Have reasonable expectations

One of the ways to become discouraged when beginning a new exercise routine is to expect too much of yourself. Pushing yourself too hard right out of the gate may cause you to fail to meet your goals. When you begin to set fitness goals after having a heart attack, one of the best things you can do is consult with your doctor regarding about appropriate exercise for your fitness level. Also, as Ornish Living reports, some of the new medications that you're on following a cardiac episode may make it harder to exercise or feel normal. Be sure to consult with both your physician and trainers regarding how your medicines may affect your routine, and set your fitness goals accordingly.

Strength in numbers

While it may sound like a cliché, there truly is strength in numbers. One of the best ways to ensure that you continue to get out there and exercise without skipping days or parts of your routine is to do so in a group. The accountability of working out with other people will keep you honest, and it may even make the process more enjoyable. Many hospitals and outpatient cardiac support groups offer exercise classes. If that isn't as much your style, you may want to simply ask a friend to join you for regular workouts.

For more on exercising for heart health:

Basic Guidelines for Aerobic Exercise
Safely Exercising with Atrial Fibrillation
Heart Rate Monitors and Exercise