Aerobic exercises help manage schizophrenia symptoms

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health condition which affects more than 1.1 percent of adult American population, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). It affects a person’s thoughts, causes disorganized speech, memory problems, delusions and hallucinations. Though treating schizophrenia is tough, various ways care being adopted to manage and treat its symptoms.

A recent study by the Institute of Brain, Behavior and Mental Health, University of Manchester, United Kingdom, found that 12 weeks of aerobic exercise by schizophrenia patients led to a significant improvement in their cognitive functioning.

The study, published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin in August 2016, concluded that aerobics led to an improvement in working memory, attention span and social awareness. The researchers said when included in the treatment program for schizophrenia, aerobics can considerably help in improving patients’ cognitive functioning.

Joseph Firth of the Institute of Brain, Behavior and Mental Health said that integrating physical exercise at the onset of treatment of schizophrenia symptoms can facilitate full and final recovery from the disorder.

Physical activity good for mental health

Being active or taking part in intense physical activity on a regular basis has a profound effect on the brain. The area of the brain known as “hippocampus” is responsible for directing many bodily functions and is involved in storing long-term memory. Though aerobics does not impact hippocampal volume, the hippocampus is known to respond positively to exercise. As hippocampus is responsible for memory and learning functions, it is imperative to keep it healthy.

Physical activity has direct and indirect benefits on brain health. It reduces insulin resistance, improves mood and reduces stress. Activities like aerobics, brisk walking, swimming, dancing, or intense household activities that get the heart pumping help improve brain health. In order to reap maximum benefits, exercise should become a regular habit and not an occasional affair.

Stress can worsen symptoms of schizophrenia

Although schizophrenia cannot be completely cured, it can be successfully treated and managed with supervised medications and therapies. With the right kind of treatment, patients can live a full and meaningful life. Early diagnosis of schizophrenia can prevent complications and enhance recovery chances. With the right and routine treatment, patients are less likely to experience situation requiring hospitalization.

The most important step in treating schizophrenia effectively is getting it diagnosed as early as possible. As symptoms of schizophrenia resemble many other mental health problems, it is imperative to get it diagnosed correctly. Post diagnosis, it is easy to fall into the trap of stress, which is known to worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Therefore, it is important to keep it under control. It is also important for a schizophrenia patient to find support from family, friends or support groups. In addition to avoiding stress and getting support, it is also important for a schizophrenic to develop a healthy lifestyle, take care of diet and indulge in some mild form of exercise.

Patients undergoing treatment are prescribed antipsychotic medications. Although medicines are prescribed to keep schizophrenia symptoms under check, a patient also needs to understand that unsupervised medication or medication overdose can affect the treatment and may even result in relapse.

Recovery road map

As patients suffering from schizophrenia are not able to understand that they have the disorder, assisted treatment may be necessary. For those suffering from mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, medication and therapy along with exercise can greatly help improve cognitive functioning.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any kind of mental ailment, don’t hesitate and contact the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline to find the right line of treatment for all kinds of mental health illnesses. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online to get in touch with a mental health therapist and start the journey to recovery today.