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Physical activity

How is physical activity relevant to people with schizophrenia?

Individuals with a serious 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. 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 high quality evidence finds a small effect of people with a severe mental illness, or those with at-risk mental states (subclinical symptoms), being less active and more sedentary than people without a mental illness. People with schizophrenia were less active, but also less sedentary than people with bipolar disorder.

Moderate to low quality evidence finds less physical activity was associated with lower education, lower SES, longer illness duration, more hospitalisations, cardio-metabolic comorbidity, increased antipsychotic side-effects, and negative symptoms. Increased physical activity was associated with being a non-smoker, healthy eating and drinking habits, better physical fitness, knowledge on cardiovascular disease risk factors, greater belief in the physical activity benefits, intention to engage in physical activity, increased self-efficacy, better physical self-perception, and an improved health-related quality of life.

March 2019

Last updated at: 3:02 am, 23rd March 2019
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Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

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