Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: On the links to recovery

Heart Beat

On the links to recovery

Fifty years ago, in February 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower spent ten days golfing and quail hunting around a Georgia plantation owned by his friend, Treasury Secretary George Humphrey. That sporting vacation, Eisenhower's first since suffering a heart attack the September before, represented a milestone for Ike (Time magazine called it a "psychological breakthrough") and for heart attack survivors then and now.

Before the 1950s, strict bed rest followed by months of limited activity was thought to be the best medicine after a heart attack. Returning to work was the exception rather than the rule.

But President Eisenhower wasn't one to sit still. Luckily, research was just beginning to show that early movement and activity were helpful, not harmful. The plan for his recovery included a low-fat diet, daily exercise, efforts to control stress, and a gradual reintroduction of normal activity.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »