Investigating the Short and Long-term Benefits of Exercise in Early Psychosis

Poster C88, Saturday, October 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Joseph Firth1, Rebekah Carney1, Paul French2,3, Rebecca Elliott1,4, Alison Yung1,2; 1Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, University of Manchester, UK, 2Psychosis Research Unit, Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK, 3Department of Psychological Sciences, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK., 4Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

This study examined if people with first-episode psychosis (FEP) are able to continue adhering to exercise after a supervised intervention, and if the benefits of exercise can be sustained overtime. Twenty-eight patients with FEP participated in an individualized exercise intervention; providing each participant with 10-weeks of twice-weekly accompaniment to exercise activities of their own choice. Adherence was recorded, and various aspects of physical and mental health were assessed. Participants were assessed at baseline, 10-weeks, and then six-months after the supervised intervention to examine their exercise adherence and associated changes in physical and mental health. During the supervised intervention, participants achieved an average of 107 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week. Furthermore, at 10-weeks (i.e. post-intervention), there were significant improvements in psychiatric symptoms, waist circumference, verbal memory and social functioning. After 6 months, 55% of participants had continued to exercise. Psychiatric assessments at the 6-month follow-up showed that positive and negative symptoms were still significantly lower than baseline scores. However, post-hoc analyses showed that only those who had maintained regular exercise after 6 months continued to show reductions in psychiatric symptoms, whereas those who had ceased exercising did not. Previously-observed benefits of exercise for social functioning were also maintained at the follow-up, although improvements in waist circumference and memory were lost. Future research should explore the effectiveness of ‘step-down’ support following supervised interventions and establish sustainable methods for maintaining regular exercise in FEP, in order to improve physical health outcomes and facilitate psychosocial recovery.

Topic Area: Translational Research

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