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Exercise (EX) and physical activity (PA) have been shown to prevent or delay the onset of several mental disorders and to have therapeutic effects in different groups of psychiatric disorders. This review focuses on studies investigating EX as therapeutic intervention in anxiety disorders, affective disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and substance use disorders. Despite EX being discussed as a potential therapy for several decades, adequately powered randomized, controlled trials are sparse in most disorder groups. Nevertheless, evidence points toward disorder-specific benefits that can be induced by EX/PA. Mechanisms of the therapeutic effects of EX/PA are summarized, including metabolic and physiological as well as psychological aspects. Finally, implications for research and therapeutic practice are illustrated.
Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charité Campus Mitte, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience
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Controlled physical activity, more strenuous than at rest, which is performed in order to allow assessment of physiological functions, particularly cardiovascular and pulmonary, but also aerobic capacity. Maximal (most intense) exercise is usually required but submaximal exercise is also used. The intensity of exercise is often graded, using criteria such as rate of work done, oxygen consumption, and heart rate.
Physical activity which is usually regular and done with the intention of improving or maintaining PHYSICAL FITNESS or HEALTH. Contrast with PHYSICAL EXERTION which is concerned largely with the physiologic and metabolic response to energy expenditure.
Disorders having the presence of physical symptoms that suggest a general medical condition but that are not fully explained by a general medical condition, by the direct effects of a substance, or by another mental disorder. The symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning. In contrast to FACTITIOUS DISORDERS and MALINGERING, the physical symptoms are not under voluntary control. (APA, DSM-IV)
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