Two new studies have shown that exercise promotes the growth of muscle cells and blood vessels in people with heart failure.
Chronic heart failure occurs when the heart is too weak to pump blood to other organs. Physical activity is uncomfortable for sufferers. However, its benefits seem clear.
In a six-month study, exercise was found to increase the number of progenitor cells, which divide into muscle cells, by 109 per cent in those with moderate to severe heart failure.
Moreover, the number of progenitor cells replicating to repair muscle damage increased sixfold.
Participants reported improved wellbeing and increased their exercise capacity by 20 per cent over the course of the study.
In the other study, 12 weeks of exercise training boosted the activity of the circulating progenitor cells in patients with severe heart failure by 149 per cent.
Dr Axel Linke, a co-author of both studies, said: "Whether you have moderate or severe heart failure, you can benefit from exercise therapy.
"These studies show that the benefits come from both the regeneration of muscle cells and the formation of blood vessels."
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