Meet cardiac rehabilitation specialist and ‘Cardiac Lauren’ founder, Lauren Walker

Photo of author
Lauren Walker

Finding a trusted cardiac rehabilitation specialist with expertise in Phase 1-4 rehabilitation can be tough. You want someone who understands cardiac disease inside and out and can offer you sound, safe advice with sensitivity and reassurance.

Not only that, but many people are also looking for cardiac rehabilitation classes which are accessible to everyone, no matter their age or location.

So where can you find a cardiac rehabilitation specialist who ticks all of these boxes?

Right here. 

What are a Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist’s qualifications?

Bacpr revalidation certificate - 28 feb 23

Lauren Walker is a BACPR (British Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation) qualified cardiac rehabilitation specialist with 18 years of experience under her belt.

BACPR is the Gold Standard in Cardiac Disease qualifications and must be re-validated every 3 years to keep up with modern practice and research (Lauren completed the most recent revalidation in March 2023 with a 97% pass rate).

Lauren’s knowledge includes, but is by no means limited to the anatomy and physiology of the heart and cardiovascular system; the complete cardiac rehabilitation process; medicine and risk stratification; emergency scenario training; and nutrition.

Not only is Lauren an experienced cardiac rehabilitation specialist, but she is also the founder of a successful online exercise community – Cardiac Lauren – where people with a history of various heart events can participate in safe and fun exercise classes from the convenience of their own home.

Cardiac Lauren brings together her extensive knowledge of cardiovascular health with her experience and love for sport and exercise. Lauren is no stranger to feel-good, high-energy exercise, as a level 4 exercise specialist, who has taught a mixture of circuit and aerobic style classes for many years.

Cardiac Lauren members can choose from a wide range of cardiac rehabilitation-targeted classes, to suit their confidence, ability and mood. Some of Lauren’s regulars don’t even have a history of a heart event – they just love Lauren’s friendly, energetic and inclusive style, and the chance to get a great workout in!

I love these videos. I find them extremely convenient because I can do them first thing in the morning and they set me up for the day without the hassle of going to a gym.

If it weren’t for Cardiac Lauren I wouldn’t get anywhere near 150 minutes of exercise a week. With them, I get well over. They have helped me get the habit of exercise and I’m sure that they play a big part in keeping me healthy at 66.

Although I haven’t had a cardiac event, I do have scoliosis and your videos complement the exercises that I’ve been given by the NHS.

I particularly appreciate your professionalism on how to exercise safely, especially the rate of perceived exertion. The videos I enjoy most are the ones with a mix of cardio, resistance and balance but I appreciate the variety of exercises that you offer and I do them all. And they are great value for money!

The fact that Lauren’s cardiac rehabilitation classes take place online also means that they are accessible to everyone, no matter where they live. Participants enjoy the convenience and security of exercising from the comfort of their own homes: no gym membership or expensive equipment is needed. In fact, the most you will need is a chair and milk cartons if you don’t own any lightweights.

Lesley Gall

Get to know Lauren a bit better by reading our short interview below, and hope to see you at the next online class!
Cardiac rehabilitation specialist cardiac lauren - balance on toes

How did you get into cardiac rehabilitation initially and become a cardiac rehabilitation specialist?

I was working as a gym instructor at my local gym and one day there were two older ladies struggling to set themselves up on the bikes. I went over, got them set up on a programme and stayed chatting whilst they exercised.

It turned out that they had not long completed their Phase 3 Cardiac Rehab programme and were just starting out in a Phase 4 gym-based class. At the end of the conversation, they persuaded me that I should speak to the person running the class and find out how I could qualify as I would be perfect in the role. The rest is history!

What is your favourite workout (or sport?)

Dancing is my main love. I started when I was 2 ½ and stopped doing ballet, tap and modern at 18 when I went to university. Since then I taught Line Dancing for 17 years, as well as Salsa and Rock ‘n’ Roll Jive. I miss dancing 3-4 times a week but I know one day I will get back to it.

I do enjoy walking, and I walk at a ‘scamper’ speed – around 4mph – and I enjoy cycling to work.

What is your favourite Cardiac Lauren ‘theme’?

I really enjoy the non-stop format as I love the challenge of making one exercise merge into the next. The other reason I like this theme is because it doesn’t involve any weights as my upper body is weak and I struggle to do many of the arm exercises!

Are there any fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share?

I like to do jigsaw puzzles and I challenge myself to do them without looking at the picture! This is why the Wasgij ones are perfect as the picture on the front of the box is not the picture in the puzzle.

What advice would you share with someone who is navigating the cardiac rehabilitation world?

Listen to your body and give yourself time. This doesn’t just relate to exercise, but to the other changes people may have to make to their lifestyles.

Allow your body to heal, allow your mind to recover from your heart event, work out a plan and strategy of how you are going to move forward and allow yourself to fail sometimes.

Remember to ask for help when you need the support to get back on track and have that fry-up every now and then as it will make you feel good!

Do you use music in your classes? What’s your favourite workout song?

Body conditioning 4_ disco fusion - pure energy go

Yes, music is very important when exercising as it helps encourage us all, plus it can sometimes make it easier to exercise when you are singing along to the tunes. 

Sadly the UK music licences do not allow us to play the 50s, 60s, Motown and 70s music online that I can play in my face-to-face classes, but there are some good disco, salsa, 80s and Afro beats tunes that I can play.

I was brought up listening to Captial Gold on the radio so I love all the 60s tunes, and I learnt all the 50s tunes when I taught Rock ‘n’ Roll Jive so they are my favourite. For the online music, there is a Salsa track that has a wonderful beat and feel to it and I love hearing it.

I’m a ‘technophobe’ and am afraid that I won’t be able to navigate online classes – can I still attend your classes?

As long as you can sign into the members area of the website everything is easy to find. You can even stay logged in so you do not have to remember your password each time you want to do a class.

You can find the most recent classes under the main title Class Timetable, plus there are options for all the different themes of classes on the right-hand side so you can go straight to the section you want.

Can people in Phases 1-3 get involved in your classes?

Cardiac Lauren is for Phase 4 onwards, so come and join us when you have been discharged from Phase 3, or if you have been told you are at risk of a heart event. Signup here.

If you are still in Phase 3, I have some specialist exercise videos you can access on my website and participate in alongside the face-to-face classes that your NHS team provide.

If you are in Phase 1 or 2 then I encourage you to just start walking on a daily basis, aiming to achieve 30 minutes of continuous walking after 4-6 weeks from your procedure. Being active daily at home is sufficient exercise for these Phases.

Leave a Comment