Steppin' It Up

Patients feel better and stronger when “Steppin’ It Up”

“Steppin’ It Up” is the Herma Heart Institute’s cardiac physical activity program for children, adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease or who have had complex heart surgeries. The goal of the program is to help patients feel better and stronger. Participants will increase endurance, regain strength, and reduce future health risks as they get motivated to stay active for the rest of their lives.

Learn more about exercising with a single ventricle heart defect from the Fontan Outcomes Network. 

How Steppin’ It Up works

The program offers each patient a personalized combination of medically supervised physical activity, education, group activities, mentoring, and fun – an approach that has already shown positive results for kids.

Patients participate in the Steppin’ It Up program for a year and advance through three tiers. The program includes activities to do at home plus offers fun and supportive group activities every six weeks, all personalized to meet the needs of you or your child. An exercise DVD and handouts, wearable activity trackers, and exercise mentors, or “buddies,” help participants learn and make exercise a part of daily life for them and their families. Participants receive a Steppin’ It Up T-shirt and water bottle in recognition of their efforts.

Many experts make exercise fun with a lifelong health purpose

The program is led by a multidisciplinary team of Herma Heart Institute experts in areas including cardiology, exercise physiology, psychology, and physical and occupational therapy. Students from Marquette University serve as fitness buddies for the patients to lend support and motivation, and to better understand each participant’s preferences and needs. Participants also learn from one another as they interact with others who have similar heart conditions.

Pilot study shows Steppin’ It Up’s powerful results

Steppin’ It Up was developed out of a pilot research study in which children with Fontan circulation significantly improved their ability to exercise and then continued to stay active for six months or more after finishing the program. The study findings were so positive that they got national attention at the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association meetings.

Is Steppin’ It Up right for you or your child?

Call us at(414) 266-6784 or contact us to learn more about Steppin’ It Up and whether it is a fit for you or your child.

Contact us

To make an appointment or talk to someone regarding the Herma Heart Institute’s Steppin’ It Up Program, contact us or call:

Call (414) 266-6784
View our brochure
Help us help kids

Congenital heart disease is the number one birth defect. We’re working to eliminate it. Giving to the Herma Heart Institute will support cutting-edge research and innovation aimed at eradicating congenital heart conditions.

Donate now