May 25, 2010 Regular physical exercise programs for individuals with schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like illnesses are feasible and may help improve the mental and physical well-being of these patients, the results of a new Cochrane review suggest.

However, although the overall results were positive, the review included only 3 small studies, prompting the authors to point out that larger randomized trials are needed “before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.”

“Current guidelines for exercise appear to be just as acceptable to individuals with schizophrenia in terms of potential physical and mental health benefit, so 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, or all, days of the week is a good goal to aim for. Start slowly and build up,” the review’s lead author Guy Faulkner, PhD, Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, said in a statement.