A medical team in Cornwall has been awarded a £100,000 grant to research the effect rehabilitation has on heart failure patients.
Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School will assess patients in Cornwall taking part in programmes including free gym facilities.
The findings will be used to measure their effect on life expectancy.
Dr Hasnain Dalal, who is leading the study, said most existing research had been done outside the UK.
Dr Dalal, a Truro GP and lecturer at the Peninsula Medical School, said: "There's evidence to say that the quality of life improves, the number of re-hospitalisations goes down and there is some evidence to suggest that people live longer.
"But most of that evidence comes from outside the UK and there is very little work on people with heart failure and rehabilitation within the UK."
Jenny Wingham, a research fellow at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, said: "This is really important because heart failure has a major impact on people's quality of life.
"We're really hoping that we can enable people to learn some 'tricks of the trade' in order to live with their condition."
More than 700,000 people over the age of 45 are thought to live with heart failure, which occurs when damage to the heart leaves it too weak to pump blood efficiently round the body.