Exercise Could Help Alleviate Schizophrenia Symptoms

First Posted: Aug 15, 2016 02:25 AM EDT

A new study reveals that regular exercises might reduce the symptoms of Schizophrenia, which is a mysterious mental disorder. Its symptoms involve auditory hallucinations, experience paranoia, social withdrawal and struggle with concentration.

The study was led by researchers from the University of Manchester. Joseph Firth, a doctoral researcher at the University of Manchester told the CBS News that many patients with schizophrenia have problems with attention, memory and other aspects of cognition. These impair their ability to function in the real world. On the other hand, he further said aerobic exercise training appears to improve the brain functioning of people with schizophrenia.

The study involved 385 patients, who were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The researchers made a systematic meta-analysis, which includes 10 independent clinical trials. In the trials, the team required the participants to have aerobic activities such as treadmill workouts, cycling and interactive video games with control group participants who received standard schizophrenia treatments. They also played table football or received occupational therapy.The results showed that after 12 weeks of aerobic exercise, it boosted the brain cognition of the participants. The researchers added that the greater amounts of exercise were linked with larger improvements in brain health.

According to Living with Schizophrenia, those who have this disease are more likely suffer a range of physical problems. These include strokes, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. They would also suffer chronic physical condition together with their mental illness. This why the life expectancy of people with schizophrenia is about 10 to 20 years less than that of the general population.

Experts suggest that having more physical exercise could help reduce physical problems such as heart disease and diabetes. This can also manage your weight, keeps blood pressure down and improves the general levels of physical fitness.

There is also evidence that exercise can improve the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. These include social withdrawal, lethargy and apathy. The researchers discovered that people who had exercise programme had improvement in self-esteem, social interest and behavior. It also reduced their auditory hallucinations (hearing voices).

Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University stated that the theory is that lifestyle changes influence brain growth factor. He further stated that the idea would be that exercise makes patients better at learning some social skills and that, as they see improvement in their working memory, overall their brains are healthier.

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