Exercise Helps Children with Heart Defects

Running, jumping, dancing all things that kids love to do seem easy, but when you are a child with a heart defect, you are often sidelined.

Like most 12-year olds, Jamie Rich enjoys playing video games but until recently, that has been about as active as he could get.

At three days old, doctors found a hole in Jamie’s heart and since then he has lived through five surgeries and is now proving a common belief wrong.

A 12-week pilot study monitored Jamie’s, and the hearts of 15 other kids during an aerobic activity and all but one showed significant improvement.

"Jamie was one of our success stories. He had low exercise capacity, but he worked hard and he had a substantial improvement," says cardiologist Jonathan Rhodes.

The kids exercised twice a week for an hour combining stretching, aerobics and light weight training.

Seven months later, the cardiac benefits are still there and Jamie’s parents say he is a different boy.

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