Exercise Can Help Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder

November 17, 2015 Elizabeth Caudy

I never thought that exercise could help my schizoaffective disorder. Now I know better. I’ve been running every day for a little over two months, and it has drastically cut down on the breakthrough episodes I have with voices. I knew exercise helped with anxiety and depression, but I didn’t know it could strike back so effectively at those nagging schizophrenic voices but it turns out that exercise can help schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

Some Background on My Schizophrenic Voices

I started hearing voices during my first and only psychotic episode when I was a sophomore in college in 1998. I thought the voices were real. I thought they were the voices of people who were following me. After I started taking an antipsychotic medication, I realized the voices were hallucinations, but they still bothered me. In fact, they bother me to this day. That’s why I’m so thrilled that running cuts them down to silence.

Exercise and Mental Illness like Schizophrenia

Do you think schizophrenia can't be helped by exercise? Think again. Along with therapy and medication, schizophrenia can be controlled by exercise. Read this

I also have generalized anxiety disorder, and I started running to quiet the anxiety. I’m still pretty anxious, but I notice the anxiety slowly chipping away. Also, I quit smoking a few years ago, but I didn’t truly feel like a nonsmoker until I started running and realized my lung capacity is strong now. The running is, of course, a big boost to my self-esteem. I feel so proud of myself at the end of my run each morning. And I’m losing weight. I didn’t start running to lose weight, but it’s an added bonus. I lose about one-and-a-half pounds each week and I have lost over 10 pounds since I started out the front door and set out on a run each day. It’s that simple. No gym, no trainer, no bill. I am outside in the open air, another bonus this beautiful fall.

More about Schizophrenia, Exercise and Losing Weight

I’ve posted articles about how I had come to terms with the weight gain caused by my antipsychotic. I love my curves and I love my body the way it is. That is still true. Let me reiterate that I pretty much started losing weight by accident. But as this happened, I took stock of my general health. Because of the medications I take, I am at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. I am cutting back drastically on my sugar intake. I’ve also stopped eating a meal when I’m no longer hungry. I have to admit, I feel a little conflicted about losing weight. But I’m certainly not going to stop running, and the running won’t stop shedding pounds.

The Big Picture about Schizophrenia and Exercise

Running makes me feel good, and makes me feel good about myself. I’m thrilled that it’s cutting back on the voices I hear. And it’s a wonderful, life-affirming way to start my day. I’m so dedicated to it that I’m sure I will continue running through the coming Chicago winter. I cannot imagine my life now without the ever increasing distances of my run.

Video about Running and My Schizophrenia

Photo by Elizabeth Caudy.

Find Elizabeth on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and her personal blog.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2015, November 17). Exercise Can Help Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 20 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

November, 25 2015 at 11:15 pm

It's really good that you're using exercising to aid your schizophrenia and also a bonus that it has health benefits!

November, 17 2015 at 4:35 pm

Keep going, but don't over-do the running. I'm a runner and I know what you are saying about reducing anxiety, depression, and many other things. Maybe 5 days of running with two days of walking or swimming might be a good mix that keeps attitudes up and injuries away. I run 4 days a week and walk the others. Good encouraging article and keep up the exercising.

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