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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 54 (2012) 8, 741 - 746

Short report

Exercise-promoting interventions for encouraging people with schizophrenia to take physical exercise

W.G. ter Meulen, L. de Haan

background Physical activity is of therapeutic value for people with schizophrenia. However, only a small percentage of them is physically active.
aim To provide an overview, based on scientific evidence, of effective aspects of exercise-promoting interventions that can be used to induce patients with schizophrenia to engage in and continue with physical activity.
method We looked for articles in PubMed and the Cochrane Library on the basis of the search terms ‘adherence’, ‘physical activity’, ‘exercise’, ‘schizophrenia’, ‘psychosis’, ‘chronic illness’ and ‘severe mental illness’.
results The exercise-promoting interventions that are the most successful are those which set one goal, involve self-monitoring , stimuli and cues and use a behavioural therapeutic approach. To be effective, interventions also have to be of moderate to high intensity, be integrated into daily life and be professionally supervised, particularly at the beginning.
conclusion Exercise has the potential to make an important and positive contribution to the recovery of patients with schizophrenia and should occupy a prominent position in the arsenal of therapies. Apparently, specific interventions can encourage patients to start taking and continue taking physical exercise.

keywords interventions, physical activity, schizophrenia