The effect of exercise on physical and mental health for adults with schizophrenia: A review of clinical aerobic exercise


  • Min Kim
  • Jihye Jeon


Background: The importance of aerobic exercise for people with mental illness has been discussed. Among many studies that explore the effectiveness of aerobic exercises, some researchers found positive results while others showed negative results. The purpose of this study was to review randomized controlled trials focusing on the physical and mental health benefits of aerobic exercise interventions for individuals with schizophrenia.

Methods: Using multiple research engines, the study collected research articles published between January 1990 and December 2018. Based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, six studies were selected. Typically, the collected studies used exercise interventions that lasted between 10 to 16 weeks, 2 to 4 days a week, for 30 to 40 minutes per day.

Results: The studies showed that aerobic exercise is beneficial for individuals with schizophrenia in that it improves their physical and mental health functions. The review found that exercise improved levels of physical and psychological changes (16 of the 26 measurements yielded moderate or large effect size). However, because of insufficient information in each study (e.g., the rationale for intensity of exercise, conditions of participants, and low engagement), it is unclear why some studies found a more significant improvement than others.

Conclusions: This review showed that aerobic exercise are basic, easily implemented, effective and low-cost forms of exercise, which can lead to a modest increase in levels of physical and psychological changes in a variety of settings. However, a few studies showed no noticeable changes in the symptoms of mental health, so the study results should be interpreted carefully. Ethiop. J. Health Dev.2020; 34(1):35-43]

Key words: Aerobic, walking, physical exercise, schizophrenia, mental illness, exercise training manual




How to Cite

Kim, M., & Jeon, J. (2020). The effect of exercise on physical and mental health for adults with schizophrenia: A review of clinical aerobic exercise. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 34(1). Retrieved from



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