After sending heart attack patients for football practice, Argentinian doctors are now prescribing another of the country’s favourite pastimes, the tango.
While many cardiac survivors are frightened that exercise will trigger another attack, scientists say that regular exertion is proven to speed recovery.
In Argentina, as few as 15 percent of patients currently undergo physiotherapy.
Cardiologist Dr Alberto Marani from a hospital in Buenos Aires said: “Tango can generate the same beneficial effects for coronary arteries and for the heart as walking and jogging.”
Fifteen couples have already signed up for classes.
Doctors hope the tango will persuade more patients to commit to formal rehabilitation.
“I love tango,” said 67-year-old Aladino Manilardi.
“I’ve wanted to learn to dance my entire life and in rehabilitation, this chance came up and I got hooked. I’m not giving up until I’m as good as the teachers.”
The classes are offered free to anyone with a history of heart problems in one southwestern suburb of Buenos Aires.
The patients who have already signed up say rehabilitation is more fun these days, with Tango giving them a chance to mix socially and to learn a new skill.