Exercise Could Help Treat Schizophrenia

Regular aerobic exercise can help improve cognitive function in people with schizophrenia, according to research from Columbia University.

Moreover, the study found that not engaging in aerobic exercise could be a risk factor for further cognitive decline in people with the condition, the researchers wrote in Schizophrenia Bulletin.

A separate study from the University of Manchester found that with just 90 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week, patients saw significant improvements in overall functioning, a decrease of psychiatric symptoms and better neurocognition.

Part of a proper intervention program

In general, research on how exercise impacts people with schizophrenia suggests it not only can reduce symptoms, but that it also helps to lower risk for cardiovascular disease - a condition schizophrenia patients are more likely to develop than the average person.

Another study published in Schizophrenia Bulletin found that schizophrenic patients who engaged in regular bicycling had increased white matter fiber tracts in the brain related to motor functioning.

"This has important implications for understanding the effect of fitness programs on the brain in both healthy subjects and patients with schizophrenia," researchers wrote.

According to a systematic review of the literature on schizophrenia and exercise published in 2010, current guidelines for exercise - about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week - apply to people with schizophrenia, too.

Source: Schizophrenia Bulletin, Wiley, Mad in America, Psych Central
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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