Preliminary Effectiveness and Sustainability of Group Aerobic Exercise Program in Patients with Schizophrenia

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The objective of this study was to examine the feasibility and sustained effect of a group aerobic exercise program in patients with schizophrenia. Twenty-four schizophrenic patients participated in a group-based individually tailored 90-minute outdoor cycling session per week for 3 months with intervention to enhance motivation. Physical health was evaluated by anthropometric measures, cardiorespiratory (CR) fitness, and blood tests. Mental health was assessed on self-esteem, interpersonal relationship, quality of life, and global function. Attrition rate for the exercise program was 8.3%. Exercise program significantly increased participant’s self-esteem, positive relationship, global function, and quality of life. CR fitness significantly improved after 3 months. At the 9-month follow-up, 6 months after program completion, only in interpersonal relationship change the improved effects were maintained. These findings support the feasibility of group aerobic exercise program with high level of adherence and its long-term benefits in positive relationship change.

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