By Jaimie Dalessio
Regular exercise is one of the most important ways to a healthy heart, but for people with coronary artery disease -- a condition in which plaque, or fatty deposits, builds up inside the heart's arteries -- sometimes physical activity isn't as easy as slipping into sneakers. For some, it's a phobia.
It's common for heart attack survivors to experience fear of sex after their cardiac event, when, in fact, it's often healthy to get back in the sack with a doctor's approval. The same might be true for others with exercise and the gym.
A doctoral thesis out of Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden suggests that kinesiophobia, fear of movement or exercise, is more common than previously thought. Led by doctoral student Maria Bäck, a team of researchers studied 322 patients with coronary artery disease six months after having an acute cardiac event, such as a heart attack. In 1 in 5 patients, they found kinesiophobia.
Fear of movement can be a serious problem for people with coronary artery disease, especially those who have suffered a heart attack. Getting active after a heart attack is an important part of the recovery process.
"Patients with kinesiophobia were less likely to participate in cardiac rehabilitation, performed worse on muscle tests and reported less physical activity, primarily medium and high-frequency activities," Bäck said in a release from Sahlgrenska Academy. "They also experienced poorer quality of life, as well as higher degrees of anxiety and depression, than patients without kinesiophobia."
Bäck's research is the first to look at kinesiophobia in patients with coronary artery disease, but it's been known to occur in patients with chronic pain, too.
"Fear of Exercise Keeps Heart Patients Sedentary" originally appeared on Everyday Health.