Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 75–80 | Cite as

“It’s Good for Me”: Physical Activity in Older Adults with Schizophrenia

  • Heather Leutwyler
  • Erin M. Hubbard
  • Margaret Slater
  • Dilip V. Jeste
Original Paper


Physical activity (PA) interventions to improve the physical function of older adults with schizophrenia are necessary but not available. Older adults with schizophrenia may have unique barriers and facilitators to PA. The purpose of this study was to describe the perceptions of older adults with schizophrenia about barriers and facilitators to engage in physical activities that promote physical function. We conducted qualitative interviews with 16 older adults with schizophrenia. Data were collected and analyzed with grounded theory methodology. Participants expressed interest in becoming more physically active for a variety of perceived benefits including psychiatric symptom management and maintenance of basic function. Key barriers and facilitators to PA emerged in five broad categories: Mental Health, No longer a spring chicken, Pride and Sense of Well-being, Comfort and Safety, and Belonging. Interventions in this population should address negative attitudes towards aging and promote routine physical activities that enhance well-being and companionship.


Schizophrenia Physical activity Gerontology Grounded theory 



This work was supported by the National Center for Research Resources [KL2R024130 to H.L. & UL1RR024131] and the National Institute of Nursing Research [P30-NR011934-0 to H.L.]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Research Resources or the National Institutes of Health.

Conflict of interest

None for any author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Leutwyler
    • 1
  • Erin M. Hubbard
    • 1
  • Margaret Slater
    • 1
  • Dilip V. Jeste
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physiological NursingUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging, Department of Psychiatry and NeurosciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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