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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Aerobic exercise helps schizophrenia patients function better
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Aerobic exercise helps schizophrenia patients function better image

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that is usually controlled with powerful drugs—but it can also be helped by strenuous aerobic exercise. Sufferers who have exercised for 12 weeks can function better at work and in social situations, new research has found.

In fact, aerobic exercise is able to help patients in ways that drugs can’t, and especially with ‘cognitive deficits’, as scientists call impairments of brain functioning, such as poor memory, an inability to concentrate, poor information processing and learning difficulties.

Patients who exercise are better able to understand social situations, have better attention spans, and have an improved working memory, say researchers at the University of Manchester.

In an analysis of 10 previously-published clinical trials that tested 385 patients with schizophrenia, the researchers found that 12 weeks of aerobic exercise, including the

use of treadmills and exercise bikes, ‘significantly improved’ mental functioning compared to other patients who didn’t exercise.

If started early enough, exercise could play an essential part in the recovery of the patient, and allow him or her to function more fully in life and work.


(Source: Schizophrenia Bulletin, 2016; doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbw115)

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