Anxiety and depression can be reduced in women who partake in women-only cardiac rehabilitation programs. Women are less inclined to enroll in a cardiac rehab which could be highly beneficial for their heart health as cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women worldwide.
Numerous studies have revealed that cardiac rehab programs are beneficial for heart health improvement by including exercise and nutrition education and counseling. These programs may even reduce the risk of death by 25 percent. Studies have found that participants who partake in such programs exercise more, eat better, and stick with heart-healthy habits for longer.
Despite the obvious benefits, recent findings uncovered that 45 percent of men enroll in such programs, and yet only 39 percent of women do so as well. Researchers and doctors are looking for ways to get more women to enroll in such therapies.
The findings, which came from researchers at York University and University Health Network, Toronto, compared health behaviors and psychosocial outcomes of women who were either randomly allocated to women-only cardiac rehab, co-ed cardiac rehab, or home treatment.
Although women in all groups saw improvements, women in the co-ed therapies had higher anxiety and depression, compared to the women in the women-only group. Lastly, even though there was an increase in physical activity across all groups, the women were still not achieving the recommended 150 minutes a week.
Lead investigator Sherry L. Grace said, “Diet improved, and depressive and anxious symptoms were lower with women-only cardiac rehabilitation participation. Nevertheless, physical activity and quality of life improved with all supervised cardiac rehabilitation participation, and the overall adjusted results of this trial suggest that women’s outcomes are equivalent regardless of participation in women-only, mixed-sex, or home-based cardiac rehabilitation. Therefore, we need to get more women to cardiac rehab, and let them choose the type of program they will be most likely to stick with.”