When a child comes home sad because a classmate poked fun at her, many parents give the same advice: Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. Well, new research has found that this well-known verse may in fact be wrong. Two studies recently released have found links between depression and heart disease, meaning words may actually be able to do more damage than our mothers would have us believe.

According to research published in the journal the European Society of Cardiology, heart risk increased by 40 percent in patients with depression. To collect the data, health records were obtained from 63,000 participants, some of whom had moderate to severe depressive symptoms. While the authors of the study are unsure what causes this link, it is believed that stress related to the mental disorder causes individuals to suffer from cardiac issues.

Professionals from the University of Manitoba also took a look at how physical activity, depression and cardiac surgery were related, and published their findings in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. After researching the outcomes of 436 patients who had undergone a heart operation, it was found that individuals who were less active prior to the procedure were more likely to develop depressive symptoms during recovery. This brings the results full circle, connecting all three of the health concerns together. So, what can you do with this information?

It's no surprise that exercise turns out to be a preventative health measure. For starters, if you maintain a regular workout routine, you can improve your mood through increased endorphin release. As a result, you may reduce your risk of depression, which based on the initial research could improve heart health. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic points out that physical activity in general benefits cholesterol levels and other cardiac issues. The moral of the story: Hit the gym!

To learn more about the benefits of exercise:

Exercise at Home: Get Moving Without Equipment
Why Mind-Body Exercise Improves Mood and Health of Heart Failure Patients
Basic Guidelines for Aerobic Exercise