How much exercise should people with SMI get per week?

People with serious mental illness (SMI) die on average 20 years earlier compared to those without SMI, and this excess mortality is related in part to cardiovascular causes related to smoking and lack of physical activity. While it is impossible to give a single recommendation for every patient with SMI, patients should at least undertake thirty minutes of exercise of moderate intensity, such as brisk walking for three days a week. Some patients may find a step counter, also known pedometer, a useful tool to help them keep track of exercise.


Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F.D. (2006) Exercise for mental health. Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 8(2), 106.

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