According to a recent study, researchers say , 20 minutes on an exercise bike every day is more effective for relieving chest pain than even minimally invasive procedures used to open blocked vessels.
For the study, 101 men with stable coronary artery disease were randomized to either the daily exercise program or intervention with a stent, which is a minimally invasive angioplasty procedure where a tiny, flexible tube (stent) is used to prop open blocked arteries.
All of the men had at least a 75-percent narrowing of one artery at the start of the study. Men worked out on stationary bikes for 10 minutes, six times a day for the first two weeks of training at the hospital. Then, they were asked to exercise at home on their bicycles for 20 minutes each day and to participate in one 60-minute group training session of aerobic exercise per week.
Researchers report clinical symptoms improved significantly for both groups during the study. After one year, 88 percent of the men who completed exercise training had no heart attacks or other adverse events while 70 percent of the men treated with stents had the same results. The men in the exercise group also improved oxygen uptake by 16 percent compared to the stenting group.