Resistance training in patients with schizophrenia: Concept and proof of principle trial.J Psychiatr Res 2019; 120:72-82JP
Resistance training has been shown to contribute to the prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases, which is why it can help reducing morbidity and mortality in schizophrenia patients. Moreover, positive effects on different schizophrenia symptom domains have been proposed. However, a specific resistance training tailored to the needs of schizophrenia patients and its evaluation is still lacking. The objective in this proof of principle trial was to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of a newly developed 12-week resistance program according to current recommendations of the WHO and the American College of Sports Medicine. We employed a single blind, parallel assignment clinical trial design with participants randomized to attend either a resistance training including three 50min units per week or a balance and tone program as control condition. The primary outcome was the impact on health-related difficulties assessed with the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHO-DAS). Secondary outcome parameters included the level of functioning, schizophrenia symptoms, selected cognitive parameters as well as risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. In our proof of principle trial, we could not find significant time or group effects of resistance training on the WHO-DAS. However, we could observe significant positive effects on the level of functioning assessed with the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF) over the course of time, which were more pronounced in the intervention group. Our findings indicated that patients with schizophrenia could safely participate in resistance training with relevant improvements in their level of functioning. Well-powered replication trials are needed to provide more efficacy data.