STUDY Exercise is as important as medication for heart patients

Exercise is as important as medication for heart patients, according to the German Federation of Cardiologists in Private Practice (BNK). A specially-tailored exercise programme can boost their quality of life, it said, noting that exercise promoted blood flow to the body’s organs and therefore strengthened the entire cardiovascular system.

Heart patients should take a stress test on a cycle ergometer before beginning an exercise programme. If their doctor gives the go-ahead and their heart disease is stable, the BNK advises them to exercise at least four times a week with moderate intensity i.e. they should be able to talk during their workouts.

BNK chairman Norbert Smetak recommends that each workout last at least half an hour. Aerobic activities such as running, Nordic walking and cycling, along with complementary strength training, are particularly suitable, he said.

The BNK said that heart patients who followed a rigorous exercise routine could reduce their risk of dying of heart disease by up to 25 per cent.