A call to action: Exercise as treatment for patients with mental illness

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Abstract

Mental illness affects the lives of a significant number of Australians. In addition to pharmacological and psychological interventions, exercise has demonstrated benefits for people with mental illness including symptom reduction, improved cardiovascular risk profile and improved physical capacity. Unfortunately, evidence shows that clinician-delivered exercise advice is not routinely offered. This is despite patient acceptability for exercise. This article summarises the recent evidence supporting the prescription of exercise for people with mental illness and offers a model incorporating basic exercise prescription, and referral pathways for specialised advice. Current exercise prescription patterns for people with mental illness may not meet patient expectations; therefore, clinicians should consider exercise referral schemes to increase the accessibility of interventions for people with a mental illness.

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Stanton, R., Rosenbaum, S., Kalucy, M., Reaburn, P., & Happell, B. (2015). A call to action: Exercise as treatment for patients with mental illness. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 21(2), 120–125. https://doi.org/10.1071/PY14054

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