Although the benefits of exercise are well documented, few published research studies have examined exercise in persons with schizophrenia. This pilot examined a 16-week walking program for outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia (N = 10). Six-minute walking distance, body mass index, percent body fat and severity of psychiatric symptoms were measured. Experimental participants in the walking group experienced significant reductions in body fat (p = 0.03) compared to a control group not participating in the exercises during the same time period. Experimental participants also had greater aerobic fitness, lower body mass indexes, and fewer psychiatric symptoms than controls at the conclusion of the program. Research is needed to identify effective exercise interventions and feasible delivery modalities for persons with schizophrenia in community settings.
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