The association between a positive emotional state of mind and lower mortality in patients with ischemic heart disease is mediated by exercise, according to the results of a new study.
Patients with higher levels of positive affect, which reflects a pleasurable response to the environment and typically includes feelings of happiness, joy, excitement, contentment and enthusiasm, had a 42% lower risk of all-cause mortality at five years and were 50% more likely to participate in an exercise program than those with lower levels of positive affect.
Writing in the September 10, 2013 online issue of Circulation, the researchers sought to determine if positive affect predicted time to first cardiac-related hospitalization and all-cause mortality, and whether exercise mediated this relationship.
Ischemic heart disease patients with higher levels of positive affect had a significant 42% lower risk of all-cause mortality at five years. In addition, these happier patients were also 48% more likely to exercise. In a risk model that adjusted for positive affect, patients who exercised were less likely to die during the five-year follow-up. The mortality benefit among those with positive affect is mediated by exercise.
So be happy and exercise for a healthy heart!