Aerobic exercise can significantly help people coping with the long-term mental health condition schizophrenia, according to a new study from University of Manchester researchers.
Through combining data from 10 independent clinical trials with a total of 385 patients with schizophrenia, Joseph Firth found that around 12 weeks of aerobic exercise training can significant improve patients’ brain functioning.
The study by Firth, Dr Brendon Stubbs and Professor Alison Yung is published in Schizophrenia Bulletin, the world’s leading journal on Schizophrenia and one of leading periodicals in Psychiatry.
Schizophrenia’s acute phase is typified by hallucinations and delusions, which are usually treatable with medication.
However, most patients are still troubled with pervasive ‘cognitive deficits’; including poor memory, impaired information processing and loss of concentration.
The research showed that patients who are treated with aerobic exercise programs, such as treadmills and exercise bikes, in combination with their medication, will improve their overall brain functioning more than those treated with medications alone.
The areas which were most improved by exercising were patients’ ability to understand social situations, their attention spans, and their ‘working memory’ - or how much information they can hold in mind at one time.