Physical activity after heart attack protects against depression

Physical activity after heart attack protects against depressionNew research has revealed that regular exercise after a heart attack can protect against depression. The data, from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study in Norway, examined 189 patients prior to entering a hospital for a heart attack. The researchers aimed to determine the effectiveness of exercise on depressive symptoms post heart attack.

By examining data over the course of 10 years, researchers determined that those who performed regular exercise prior to experiencing a heart attack lowered the risk of developing depression by 20 percent compared to those who did not exercise. Those who went from being inactive to active after their heart attack also gained better protection against depression than those who remained inactive. Dr. Linda Ernstsen from the University said, “Our results add strength to the evidence of a causal link between physical activity and mental health.”


“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,” Dr. Ernstsen added.

This is another study that reaffirms the link between physical activity and depression. Furthermore, it stresses the increased risk that heart attack patients face of developing depression. Once again, physical activity is pointed out as a viable solution to reduce the risk of depression and boost health.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Medicine.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.