Patients with schizophrenia might benefit from exercise via multiple ways. It can be assumed that positive effects observed in healthy people counteract different pathological dimensions of schizophrenia or add to a better compensation. E.g. exercise may serve as a coping strategy, produces changes in brain structure and function and is already known to improve mood and cardiovascular health. First studies have shown beneficial effects of exercise in schizophrenia. These studies feature a multitude of exercise types and diagnostic tests and also lay emphasis on different research questions.
From the diverse information of the studies, heterogenic character conclusions for future therapy and research can be derived. From the point of view of sports science, feasibility and effectiveness of endurance training will be discussed on the basis of current literature and results from our own research. In a controlled trial 22 patients with schizophrenia participated in 12 weeks of endurance training using bicycle ergometers resulting, e. g., in improvements of endurance capacity and functioning. A special focus was laid on analyzing the differences between the adaptations of patients and healthy controls to test the transferability of methods and effects of endurance training. The exercise intervention was feasible and effective for both healthy controls and patients but some interesting differences could be found.
Additionally, ideas and special circumstances regarding the implementation of endurance training in clinical settings or for outpatients will be considered. From the current knowledge it can be concluded, that the implementation of endurance training in multimodal therapy strategies can be recommended to promote recovery.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.