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Physical activity

How is physical activity relevant to people with schizophrenia?

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

What is the evidence for physical activity in people with schizophrenia?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests a medium to large effect of more sedentary behaviour in people with schizophrenia or at-risk (subclinical) mental states than in people without schizophrenia. Predictors of low levels of activity are lower education, lower socio-economic status, longer illness duration, more hospitalisations, cardio-metabolic illness, antipsychotic side-effects, and negative symptoms, such as social withdrawal. Higher levels of physical activity are predicted by being a non-smoker, healthy eating and drinking, knowledge of cardiovascular disease risk factors, belief in the benefits of physical activity, belief in one’s ability to succeed (self-efficacy), better physical self-perception, and health-related quality of life.


Also see the exercise therapy treatment topic.

March 2017

Page last updated: 1:36  7 September 2017

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