Physical activity (PA) has a positive association with health-related quality of life (HRQL) in the general population. The association between PA and HRQL in those with poor mental health is less clear.
To examine the concurrent and prospective dose-response relationships between total PA (TPA) and walking only with HRQL in women aged 50-55 years with depressive symptoms in 2001.
Participants were 1,904 women born in 1946-1951 who completed mailed surveys for the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010, and reported depressive symptoms in 2001. At each time point, they reported their weekly minutes of walking, moderate PA, and vigorous PA. A summary TPA score was created that accounted for differences in energy expenditure among the three PA types. Mixed models were used to examine associations between TPA and HRQL (short form-36 [SF-36] component and subscale scores) and between walking and HRQL, for women who reported walking as their only PA. Analyses were conducted in 2013-2014.
Concurrently, higher levels of TPA and walking were associated with better HRQL (p<0.05). The strongest associations were found for physical functioning, vitality, and social functioning subscales. In prospective models, associations were attenuated, yet compared with women doing no TPA or walking, women doing "sufficient" TPA or walking had significantly better HRQL over time for most SF-36 scales.
This study extends previous work by demonstrating trends between both TPA and walking and HRQL in women reporting depressive symptoms.