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Disabil Rehabil. 2011;33(8):684-9. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2010.509458. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

State anxiety, psychological stress and positive well-being responses to yoga and aerobic exercise in people with schizophrenia: a pilot study.

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Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Catholic University Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.



Worsening of schizophrenia symptoms is related to stress and anxiety. People with schizophrenia often experience difficulties in coping with stress and possess a limited repertoire of coping strategies. A randomised comparative trial was undertaken in patients with schizophrenia to evaluate changes in state anxiety, psychological stress and subjective well-being after single sessions of yoga and aerobic exercise compared with a control condition.


Forty participants performed a single 30-min yoga session, 20-min of aerobic exercise on a bicycle ergometre at self-selected intensity and a 20-min no exercise control condition in random order.


After single sessions of yoga and aerobic exercise individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder showed significantly decreased state anxiety (p < 0.0001), decreased psychological stress (p < 0.0001) and increased subjective well-being (p < 0.0001) compared to a no exercise control condition. Effect sizes ranged from 0.82 for psychological stress after aerobic exercise to 1.01 for state anxiety after yoga. The magnitude of the changes did not differ significantly between yoga and aerobic exercise.


People with schizophrenia and physiotherapists can choose either yoga or aerobic exercise in reducing acute stress and anxiety taking into account the personal preference of each individual.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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