Physical activity

How is physical activity relevant to people with bipolar disorder?

Increased physical activity has the potential to improve physical and mental health in people with bipolar disorder. Individuals with a severe mental illness are more likely to be sedentary than the general population and are consequently at high risk for chronic medical conditions associated with inactivity. Positive psychological effects from physical activity in clinical populations have been reported, including improved quality of life.

What is the evidence regarding physical activity?

Moderate quality evidence suggests people with any severe mental illness are less active and more sedentary than controls. However, in people with bipolar disorder specifically, no differences were found compared to controls, as they were more active than people with schizophrenia or major depression.

Lower physical activity in people with bipolar disorder was associated with living in North America, being an outpatient, antidepressant use, male sex, being single, unemployed, smoking, higher body mass index, lower cardio-respiratory fitness, medical comorbidity, older age, ethnic minority status, and low education.

November 2021

Image: © Li Zhongfei –

Last updated at: 12:07 pm, 1st November 2021
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.