Physical inactivity is cross-sectionally but not prospectively associated with depressive symptoms

Physical inactivity and poor mental health are associated with bad prognosis in patients with cardiovascular diseases. In a subsample of 600 patients in the Alpha Omega Trial we collected information about physical activity, depressive symptoms and optimism with validated questionnaires. Physical inactivity was cross-sectionally associated with depressive symptoms and changes in physical activity were inversely related to changes in depressive symptoms. However, baseline physical activity did not predict depressive symptoms after 40 months of follow-up. Physical activity was not related to optimism.


Physical activity was cross-sectionally and longitudinally inversely associated with depressive symptoms in older patients after heart attack. However, physical activity at baseline did not predict future depressive symptoms. These results suggest that physical activity and depressive symptoms may affect each other on the short-term but not on the long-term.