Study Explores Correlates of Low-Level Physical Activity and Psychosis

A study examines the variables correlated with low levels of physical activity in persons diagnosed with psychosis in low and middle-income countries


A study in the journal Schizophrenia Research examines variables correlated with low levels of physical activity (PA) in persons diagnosed with psychosis across forty-seven low and middle-income countries. While current research supports physical activity for individuals diagnosed with psychosis to improve cognition and quality of life and lower the risks for metabolic and cardiovascular conditions, more research is needed to understand the factors associated with low levels of exercise in this population.

“There is consistent evidence that engaging in PA and exercise can improve a plethora of outcomes in patients with psychosis, such as cognition, cardiorespiratory fitness, cardiometabolic risk factors, and quality of life,” the researchers write.

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A previous study published by the same authors showed that individuals with symptoms associated with psychosis have higher odds of reporting low levels of physical activity (PA). This initial study identified possible mediators as being: mobility difficulties, self-care difficulties, depression, cognition, pain and discomfort, interpersonal activities, sleep and energy, and vision. Given the known benefits of PA, the authors sought to further disentangle factors that impact the levels of PA by assessing the correlates of several patient variables and low levels of PA.

Authors of this study aimed to assess correlates of PA in individuals residing in low-and-middle-income countries. This was done by cross-sectional design utilizing the World Health Survey (WHS) across 70 countries. The final sample included 2407 individuals diagnosed with psychosis. Variables gathered included: physical activity, health behaviors, physical health, mental health, health status, and various socio-demographic variables. Eighteen potential correlates of physical activity were assessed.

The results of the analysis demonstrated that the following demographic variables were significantly correlated with low levels of physical activity:

  • Male sex
  • Age
  • Unemployment
  • Urban setting

Other variables significantly correlated with low PA included:

  • Inadequate fruit consumption
  • Depression
  • Sleep/energy disturbance
  • Mobility limitations

This study is one of several which are hoping to shed light on factors that have a significant impact on physical activity among individuals with psychosis. Physical activity is a complex behavior and the authors speculate that these low levels of physical activity may be influenced by social isolation, perceived safety of their neighborhoods, lack of transportation, and urban employment (compared to rural jobs such as farming).

Interestingly, low consumption of fruit but not vegetables was correlated with low PA. This underscores the need for health promotion interventions to promote healthy lifestyles. Overall this study suggests that some of the factors PA interventions need to consider are gender, age, employment, urbanicity, depression, sleep/energy disturbances, mobility challenges, and diet when working with individuals with psychosis.



Stubbs, B., Vancampfort, D., Firth, J., Hallgren, M., Schuch, F., Veronese, N., . . . Koyanagi, A. (2017) Physical Activity correlates among people with psychosis: Data from 47 low- and middle-income countries. Schizophrenia Research. Article in Press. (Link)


  1. So pleased to hear there’s been a switch from psychiatrists trying to talk their patients out of regular moderate exercise, which I knew was insane, and that the “current research” finally “supports physical activity for individuals diagnosed with psychosis to improve cognition and quality of life and lower the risks for metabolic and cardiovascular conditions, more research is needed to understand the factors associated with low levels of exercise in this population.”

    I will mention the antipsychotic drugs make one so physically and mentally exhausted (due to the fact they can create “psychosis” via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning) that it is extremely difficult to find the will to exercise when one is on this drug class, not to mention the time, since antipsychotics make people sleep an absurd amount each day.

    Perhaps, if the psychiatrists stopped forcing the toxic, psychosis creating, diabetes causing, sleep and extreme weight gain inducing antipsychotics onto other human beings, those people would find it much easier to exercise? And the good news is weaning people off the antipsychotics can create a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis, and this mania is so extreme that you have tons and tons of energy which can be directed towards exercise.

    I know once I was weaned off that drug class and got off all the drugs, I was dancing for a couple hours every morning, then I’d go bike 10 or so miles, I rehabbed my house, gardened like a fiend. Tons and tons of energy is what results from weaning people off of the psychosis creating antipsychotics.

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  2. Anhedonia is the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. exercise, hobbies, singing, sexual activities or social interactions. While earlier definitions of anhedonia emphasized pleasurable experience, more recent models have highlighted the need to consider different aspects of enjoyable behavior, such as motivation or desire to engage in activities (motivational anhedonia), as compared to the level of enjoyment of the activity itself (“consummatory anhedonia”).

    Give me a break with more studies when every knows dopamine antagonists cause anhedonia. Anhedonia is evil, everything is just bla boring. I woman in AA I know was just prescribed that zombie death pill Zyprexa for sleep and anxiety and I was pissed. They did that to me years ago the zyprexa rob your soul treatment and the anhedoina that insidiously creeps in is a robbery of everything. Step on the gas in the car up a cool hill on a cool road and absolutely no “yee ha” feeling whatsoever nothing blankness, same with music favorite tunes come on and no wana move sensations at all its just bla nothing. I went to the museum of natural history back then on that zombie poison olanzapine and unlike prior trips that sense of awe and wonder just did not happen, would not happen just bla and a so what feeling. And of course when I quit that “non addictive” zombie poison from hell I got sick, real sick for weeks with all the symptoms of benzodiapine and opiate withdrawal put together.

    If it was up to me Olanzapine Zyprexa would be banned and all the instructions on how to make it on computers would be erased and every book shredded or burned. Total eradication.

    I warned that woman from AA or I should say who dropped out of it, I wanted to call up and bitch out her doctor then she tells me she asked for that drug so I asked – WHY ?? She said a neighbor recommended it, WTF !!! “He is an electrician” she tells me. I can’t stand the way people think electricians are smarter then the average person. I cringe when people imply that but that is a rant for another day.

    Call that doctor and get something else to sleep, ANYTHING else. I am warning you you will get fat, zombified and then when you decide to quit you will get the withdrawals from hell, don’t take my word for it just search Zyprexa withdrawal and read the 100s maybe 1000s of testimonials that appear in search results.

    “He is an electrician” oh please, memorized building codes and knows how to use an electric meter, not that impressive, I know how to do wires and electrical math too.

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