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Schizophrenia Symptoms Show Improvement With Physical Exercise Study Finds Health News

A recent research endeavour conducted in collaboration between the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), the University of Deusto, and the Álava Psychiatric Hospital has unveiled a significant breakthrough regarding the potential benefits of physical exercise for individuals with schizophrenia.

Spearheaded by UPV/EHU researchers Sara Maldonado and Mikel Tous, the study set out to investigate the impact of an adjuvant program involving outdoor physical activity as a supplementary component to the conventional treatment regimen for individuals grappling with schizophrenia. The primary objective was to ascertain whether this novel approach could foster improvements in overall well-being, while also lending an ear to individuals with schizophrenia to gain insight into their subjective experiences.

Tous, one of the key contributors to this study, emphasised the well-established merits of physical exercise for diverse vulnerable populations. According to him, physical activity not only has a favourable influence on physical health but extends its reach to alleviate various facets of the condition. Schizophrenia, as Tous explained, manifests in three categories of symptoms: positive, negative, and cognitive.

Positive symptoms typically comprise delusions and hallucinations, which are amenable to pharmacological treatment. In contrast, the negative symptoms, characterised by feelings of melancholy, lack of energy, and apathy, do not readily respond to medication. However, the research indicated that physical exercise could mitigate the severity of these negative symptoms.

In the words of the researcher, physical exercise serves as a "brain modulator" that triggers an upsurge in the expression of specific proteins, subsequently enhancing the brain's plasticity. This means that it facilitates adaptations and structural modifications in the brain, leading to enhanced learning, memory, and cognitive function.

The study involved individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia who undertook a rigorous five-month physical exercise program conducted off-site, comprising a blend of aerobic activities and strength and resistance training. These sessions took place three times a week. Before and after their participation in the program, the participants underwent interviews lasting around 35 minutes, delving into their perceptions and experiences concerning physical exercise in relation to their condition.

The results unveiled an encouraging perspective. Participants found the physical exercise program beyond the hospital environment to be a "highly acceptable and beneficial" complement to their routine treatment. They articulated that physical exercise served as a means of mental disconnection from the challenges they faced.

The researchers reached a compelling conclusion: it would be ideal for psychiatric institutions to integrate trained physical education instructors who can oversee well-designed physical exercise programs for their patients. This approach not only advances the physical well-being of individuals with schizophrenia but also contributes to their mental and emotional health, fostering a holistic approach to treatment.

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Source: Nation World News