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Exercise Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease in Depressed Patients

Key Message

Regular exercise reduces the adverse cardiovascular consequences of depression. 


Al Mheid, Ibhar et al. (2016). Depressive Symptoms and Subclinical Vascular Disease: The Role of Regular Physical Activity. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 67(2):232-234. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2015.10.057


Depression has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other physical ailments, and depression is commonly associated with worse outcomes for patients with heart disease and other conditions. In addition, as many as 20 percent of people hospitalized with a heart attack report symptoms of depression, while patients with heart disease have three times the risk of developing depression compared to the general population.

Researchers from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta set out to learn more about the relationship between depressive symptoms and heart disease. They studied 965 people who were free of heart disease and who had no prior diagnosis of an affective, psychotic or anxiety disorder. Researchers used questionnaires to evaluate patients for depression and levels of physical activity. They also looked a several early indicators of heart disease.


Researchers found arterial stiffening and inflammation--the early heart disease indicators--that accompany worsening depressive symptoms were more pronounced in people who were inactive. The indicators were less common in subjects engaging in regular physical activity.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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