Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness characterized by positive and negative symptoms. Cognitive impairment continues to be a core and consistent deficit. Previous studies have shown that physical activity (PA) is positively associated with cognitive performance. Thus, it may play a supportive role in mitigating cognitive impairments among individuals with schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and executive function among adults with schizophrenia.
The weekly amount of MVPA (assessed using accelerometers) and executive function (as per Brief Neurocognitive Assessment for Schizophrenia) of 78 adults with schizophrenia (mean [SD] age 42.4 [11.4] years; illness duration 17.0 [11.0] years; 58.2% male) were assessed in this cross-sectional study. Pearson correlations were calculated, followed by a linear regression. Participants were first analyzed together and then dichotomized on the basis of illness duration.
There was no significant association between MVPA and executive function, independent of the duration of illness. For individuals with < 15 years of illness, there was a significant association between weekly MVPA and working memory performance.
PA appears to be associated with executive function in some, but not all, individuals with schizophrenia.