A recent study suggests a link between being physically active prior to a heart attack and the development of depression afterward.
In the study, researchers studied 189 people in Norway after they experienced their first heart attack. They found that the participants who were physically active for 10 years prior to their heart attack were 20% less likely than the inactive participants to be depressed after the event.
The researchers also found that the participants who had been inactive but started exercising before their heart attack were less likely to be depressed than those who had been active but stopped exercising.
The study was published recently in the The American Journal of Medicine, according to a media release from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
“Our results add strength to the evidence of a causal link between physical activity and mental health,” says the study’s first author, Linda Ernstsen, from the Center for Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in the release.
“In fact, we do not know if the heart attack itself is related to the prevalence of depression or if it is the change in physical activity level that is the driving force behind our findings. More research is definitely needed in this area,” she adds.
The findings reinforce the link between physical activity and depression, and highlight the need for people with or at risk for heart disease and/or depression to boost their physical activity levels, the researchers note in the release.
[Source(s): Norwegian University of Science and Technology, HealthDay]