Impact of depression and aging on physical activity

How do depression and aging affect physical activity levels?

Important goals of primary care cardiovascular risk management (CVRM) include identifying physical inactivity levels and encouraging patients to adopt and/or maintain a physically active lifestyle.

Depressive symptomatology and aging may act as a barrier for patients to enhance their physical activity levels. This association was predominantly found in patients suffering from  cardiovascular disease (secondary prevention patients) and in female patients. Increasing physical activity levels are reported to decrease patients’ experienced depressive symptoms and decline mortality rates that are accompanied by aging.

In line with our expectations, we found an association between depressive symptoms and physical inactivity and that aging was associated with declining physical activity levels. However, these associations did neither differ between men and women, nor between patients at high cardiovascular risk without suffering from cardiovascular disease in history (primary prevention patients) and secondary prevention patients.

These studies support the identification of physical inactivity levels and tailoring CVRM interventions to individual patients’ needs and capacities. Multidisciplinary lifestyle interventions should aim at the increase of physical activity levels, while emphasizing on improving symptoms of depression. They do not support the notion that extra emphasis should be put in targeting men or women, or people with or without a history of cardiovascular disease. 

> From: Achttien et al., BMC Cardiovasc Disord 19 (2019) 95 . All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the online summary.

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On top of that, the additional reference for this summary is:

Achttien RJ, Lieshout JV, Wensing M, Nijhuis-van der Sanden M, Staal JB. The decline in physical activity in aging people is not modified by gender or the presence of cardiovascular disease. Eur J Public Health. 2019 [Epub ahead of print] (Click here for the Pubmed abstract!)

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