Physical activity after myocardial infarction: is it related to mental health?

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013 Jun;20(3):399-408. doi: 10.1177/2047487312438184. Epub 2012 Feb 3.


Background: Physical inactivity and poor mental wellbeing are associated with poorer prognoses in patients with cardiovascular disease. We aimed to analyse the cross-sectional and prospective associations between physical activity and mental wellbeing in patients with a history of myocardial infarction.

Design: Longitudinal, observational study.

Methods: We investigated 600 older subjects with a history of myocardial infarction (age range 60-80 years) who participated in the Alpha Omega Trial (AOT). They were tested twice at baseline and at 40 months follow-up for physical activity - with the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE); depressive symptoms - with the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15); and dispositional optimism - with the Life Orientation Test (LOT-R). Linear (multilevel) and logistic regression analyses were used to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations.

Results: Physical activity was cross-sectionally associated with depressive symptoms (adjusted beta = -0.143; p = 0.001), but not with dispositional optimism (adjusted beta = 0.074; p = 0.07). We found a synchrony of change between physical activity and depressive symptoms (adjusted beta = -0.155; p < 0.001), but not with dispositional optimism (adjusted beta = 0.049; p = 0.24). Baseline physical activity did not predict depressive symptoms at 40 months follow-up.

Conclusions: Concordant inverse associations were observed for (changes) in physical activity and depressive symptoms. Physical activity did not predict depressive symptoms or low optimism.

Keywords: Alpha Omega Trial; Physical activity; cardiovascular disease; depressive symptoms; dispositional optimism; mental well-being.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3