Exercise therapy for psychiatric patients: Suggestions from practices in a day-care facility

Hiroomi Sensui, Hirohisa Hida, Toshihiko Fujimoto, Toshiya Nagamatsu

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Many studies have suggested that exercise can improve mental health even in psychiatric patients. However, evidence is still lacking about suitable exercises for patients with psychiatric disorders other than depression. In this study, 3 experiments were performed. In experiment 1, a suitable type of exercise for psychiatric patients was examined; in experiment 2, psychological benefits of exercise were compared between mood disorder patients and schizophrenic patients; and in experiment 3, the effect of long-term exercise as part of a day-care program was examined in a psychiatric clinic. Methods: In experiment 1, acute affective changes of aerobic (hip-hop dance), static (pilates), and competitive (futsal) exercises were compared with changes induced by a psychological education program. In experiment 2, acute affective changes induced by a hip-hop dance exercise program were compared between mood disorder patients and schizophrenic patients. In experiment 3, self-reported questionnaires about mental health were performed before and after the experimental period (6 months). Changes in scores on the questionnaires were compared between patients who had regularly participated in an exercise program (exercise group) and patients who had not (non-exercise group). Results: In experiment 1, hip-hop dance and pilates improved the affective state better than the psychological education program. Affective states after all types of exercise were better than states after psychological education. In experiment 2, after hip-hop dance exercise, affective states of schizophrenic patients improved more than those of mood disorder patients. At baseline, affective states of schizophrenic patients were worse than mood disorders patients. In experiment 3, the exercise group showed a reduction of psychiatric symptoms (K10 score) and improvement of self-efficacy (generalized self-efficacy score) compared with the non-exercise group. Conclusion: 1. All types of exercise (aerobic, static, and competitive) were effective at improving affective states of psychiatric patients. 2. Improvement of affective states in schizophrenic patients was greater than in mood disorder patients, probably because of the worse affective state of these patients at baseline. 3. Patients who regularly participated in a day-care exercise program showed improved mental health compared with patients who had not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalBulletin of the Physical Fitness Research Institute
Issue number109
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Apr


  • Dance
  • Depression
  • Futsal
  • Pilates
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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