Valerie Haynie knew after suffering a blocked artery that she had to change. “I was retired, and I sat at home,” the Central Jersey woman said. “I watched TV and used my computer. I wasn’t doing any exercise.” Change is never easy, and for people with heart problems especially, vigorous exercise can be scary. But Haynie soon found a way forward. While attending an outpatient cardiac rehab program, Haynie joined a clinical trial by Rutgers University psychologists seeking to treat symptoms of exercise anxiety, which are common among people with heart ailments.

“For these patients, exercise has been prescribed to re-strengthen their heart,” said Samantha Farris, a professor of psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences who is leading the project. “The problem is that for some, exercise can feel uncomfortable, and the sensations of exertion can create anxiety powerful enough to make them avoid exercise or opt out of cardiac rehab altogether.” To read the full story.