Physical Activity, Exercise and Sport Programs as Effective Therapeutic Tools in Psychosocial Rehabilitation

Federica Sancassiani1, *, Sergio Machado3, 4, Antonio Preti1, 2
1 Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
2 Center for Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatics, University Hospital, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
3 Laboratory of Panic and Respiration, Institute of Psychiatry of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPUB/UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
4 Physical Activity Neuroscience, Physical Activity Sciences Postgraduate Program - Salgado de Oliveira University, Niterói, Brazil

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Creative Commons License
© 2018 Sancassiani et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, SS554, 09042 Monserrato Cagliari, Italy, Tel: 30039 3493119215; E-mail:


People with severe psychosocial disabilities have a 20-years shorter lifespan due to chronic somatic comorbidities and the long-term consequences of the side-effects of antipsychotic drugs.

They often are sedentary and show lower levels of physical activity, factors which can contribute to their shorter lifespan, because of the greater cardiovascular risk.

An increasing amount of evidence, including clinical trials, pointed out that sport, physical activity and structured exercise programs improve physical and psychological wellbeing of people with psychosocial disabilities, playing also an important role against their social isolation and self-stigma.

The NICE and APA guidelines include exercise and physical activity for the management of depressive symptoms.

Safe and effective programs require multidisciplinary teams that should always include mental health professionals, able to recognize the psychosocial needs, the impact of symptomatology, the role of secondary effects of psychotropic medication, the effect of previous exercise history, the lack of motivation, the inexperience with effort intensity and the frustration of people with psychosocial disabilities.

Keywords: Sport, Exercise, Physical activity, Psychosocial disability, Psychosocial rehabilitation, Multidisciplinary.