Vitoria (EFE).- Physical exercise improves the symptoms of schizophrenia. This is stated in a study by the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), in collaboration with the University of Deusto and the Psychiatric Hospital of Álava.
UPV/EHU researchers Sara Maldonado and Mikel Tous have carried out a study to investigate the effect of an adjuvant physical exercise program outside the hospital as a complement to the usual treatment in people with schizophrenia.
It was intended to observe if there were improvements in overall health by giving voice to people with schizophrenia to learn about their subjective experiences.
According to Tous, it has been observed that physical exercise in different vulnerable populations is having very beneficial effects on health. “Not only does it improve the physical part, but it can also improve other aspects of the disease,” he points out.
The three types of symptoms
Schizophrenia, Tous explained, has three types of symptoms, positive, negative and cognitive.
Positive ones can be delusions or hallucinations and are usually treated with medication. But for the negative ones (sadness, lack of energy, apathy) there is no medication that can treat them and thanks to physical exercise this type of symptomatology can be improved.
Physical exercise, explained the researcher, is like “a brain modulator that increases the expression of certain proteins” It also improves “cerebral plasticity itself, that is, functional and structural adaptations of the brain are produced that are associated with improvements in learning, memory and cognitive function.”
Aerobic and strength exercises
In the study, the participating people diagnosed with schizophrenia received an intensive physical exercise program, training combining an aerobic part and a strength and resistance circuit, out of hospital for five months, three times a week.
“Both before and after doing the physical exercise, we interviewed them for approximately 35 minutes.