(NaturalNews) As little as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times per week can reduce the risk of early heart-disease-related death by 60 percent, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Department of Cardiology in New Orleans and published in the American Journal of Medicine.
"This study proves once again that exercise has both psychological and physical benefits for patients with heart disease," the British Heart Foundation said. "Health authorities must ensure that all suitable heart patients are offered cardiac rehabilitation. Structured, well-resourced programs have been shown to improve physical and psychological well-being and reduce mortality."
Researchers offered 522 heart disease patients a 12-week exercise class, which included three weekly sessions consisting of a 10-minute warm-up, 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise, and a 10-minute wind-down stretch. Aerobic exercises included walking, jogging, rowing and cycling. All exercise program participants were advised to exercise a further one to three times per week, and were given diet and lifestyle advice.
After six years, participants who had taken part in the exercise program were 60 percent less likely to have died from a cardiovascular cause than those who had declined to participate. The risk was reduced even further in patients who had reported being stressed.
Stress can increase the risk of death in heart patients fourfold. In the current study, the proportion of stressed patients in the exercise group went from 10 percent to 5 percent.
"Exercise reduces mortality in patients with coronary artery disease ... in part because of the effects on psycho¬social stress," the researchers concluded.
The weight of participants in the exercise group did not change significantly over the course of the study, suggesting that exercise provides important health benefits separate from its effect on weight control.
Prior studies have shown that regular exercise lowers the risk of not only cardiovascular disease, but also of cancer and neurological disorders.