Exercise therapy for schizophrenia

Paul Gorczynski, Guy Faulkner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For people with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, improvement in quality of life tends to enhance the individual’s ability to cope with and manage their disorder. As such, physical activity has the potential to improve quality of life for people with mental health disorders through two routes: physical and psychological (Faulkner 2006). In terms of physical health, individuals with mental health disorders have the same physical health needs as the general population. Individuals with serious mental illness are more likely to be sedentary than the general population (Brown 1999; Chamove 1986; Davidson 2001) and are consequently at high risk for chronic medical conditions associated with inactivity. For example, much of the increase in chronic medical illness among individuals with serious mental illness may be attributed to the increased prevalence of obesity in this population (Goff 2005) and physical inactivity likely contributes to this increased prevalence. In terms of mental health, positive psychological effects from physical activity in clinical populations have been reported even among those individuals who experience no objective diagnostic improvement. Improved quality of life is particularly important for individuals with severe and enduring mental health problems when complete remission may be unrealistic (Faulkner 1999). For example, there is a potential role for exercise in the treatment of schizophrenia, Faulkner 2005 concludes that exercise may alleviate secondary symptoms of schizophrenia such as depression, low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD004412
Pages (from-to)CD004412
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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