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The role of physical activity in overall well-being should not be underestimated. Its significance was reiterated recently by a team of researchers who said that physical activity can help fight the onset of heart disorders and untimely death in people suffering from mental illnesses.
Scientists from the King’s College London tried to find if two-and-a-half-hour exercise every week impacts the onset of psychotic symptoms. The research was carried out to check if the recommendations put forth by the World Health Organization (WHO) had anything to do with the prevalence of psychological disorders.
Linking physical activity to possibility of psychiatric disorders
The study, titled “Physical Activity Levels and Psychosis: A Mediation Analysis of Factors Influencing Physical Activity Target Achievement Among 204 186 People Across 46 Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” was based on findings of previous studies which said that people afflicted with schizophrenia were more likely to suffer from heart diseases.
For the study published online in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin in August 2016, the scientists used details from the World Health Survey which was conducted in 70 countries from 2002 to 2004. The respondents were questioned through surveys and interviews mailed to them. The participants were asked to inform about the nature of physical activity – moderate or strenuous. The respondents were also required to inform about the extent of time they invested in moderate or vigorous physical activity.
Prevalence of psychosis in inactive people
The observations revealed that psychosis detection was mostly linked to people who were inactive, especially males. The results indicated that the prevalence of people who engaged in less than the recommended level of physical activity across the entire population stood at 26.9 percent. Low physical activity was observed in 24.3 percent people manifesting signs of psychosis but had not been diagnosed with the disorder and 33 percent of those detected with acute mental illness.
Low physical activity to the extent of 27 percent was observed in people not suffering from any kind of mental illness. The results obtained from the data indicated that when compared to those not afflicted with any kind of psychiatric disorder, the male respondents who had been diagnosed with psychosis were in greater likelihood of being physically dormant in the overall sample. Nevertheless, the same was not observed in the female participants.
It was not clear as to why people detected with experiences similar to psychosis were inactive. However, the scientists suggested that potential reasons for this problem could be low levels of motivation or impact of therapeutic drugs. Those who complained of experiences similar to psychosis but had not been diagnosed with the disorder were less likely to take antipsychotic medications.
The scientists were not able to explain as to why the results did not apply to female respondents. The authors stressed that remaining physically inert could be attributed to earlier onset of illnesses in males, low motivation levels, addiction to various substances and low rates of recovery. Also, males suffering from psychosis were in greater likelihood to die prematurely due to heart diseases.
Road to recovery
Prior studies have indicated how patients of psychosis were more likely to suffer from heart diseases. In spite of knowing and understanding the positive effects of physical activity, people suffering from psychosis tend to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Mental illnesses can hamper a person’s ability to function properly.
People often face difficulty in dealing with mental health problems. Exercise can act as the preliminary treatment for many mental health illnesses, but a mental disorder is something that requires professional assistance. If you are battling some kind of mental disorder, get connected to the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline. To learn about the best mental health programs in the U.S., call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online with one of our mental health experts for instant assistance.