The reasons why many coronary patients are inactive or have a low level of physical activity (PA) are not completely understood. We identified medical and psychosocial factors associated with PA status and increasing exercise level after a coronary event.
A cross-sectional study investigated the factors associated with PA in 1101 patients hospitalized with myocardial infarction (MI) and/or a revascularization procedure. Data were collected from hospital records, a self-report questionnaire, and a clinical examination. PA was categorized as inactivity, low activity, and adequate activity (≥ moderate intensity of 30 min ≥2-3 times/wk), an overall summary PA-index was measured as a continuous variable, and self-reported PA increase since the index event was measured on a 0- to 10-point Likert Scale.
In all, 18% reported inactivity, 42% low, and 40% adequate activity at follow-up after median 16 mo. In multiadjusted linear regression analyses, low PA-index was significantly associated with smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, depression, female, low education, MI as index diagnosis, and ≥1 previous coronary event. Motivation, risk and illness perceptions, and low reported need of help to increase PA were significantly associated with self-reported increasing PA level in adjusted continuous analyses.
Daily smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, and depression were the major potentially modifiable factors associated with insufficient PA, whereas high motivation and risk and illness perceptions were associated with increasing PA level. Further research on the effect of interventions tailored to the reported significant factors of failure is needed to improve PA level in CHD patients.