"A new study from Indiana University suggests that even meager levels of physical activity can improve the mood of people with serious mental illnesses (SMI) such as bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia. The study, published in the November issue of the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, both reinforces earlier findings that people with SMI demonstrate low levels of physical activity and supports the consideration of physical activity as a regular part of psychiatric rehabilitation. ‘We found a positive association between physical activity level and positive mood when low to moderate levels of physical activity are considered,’ said study author Bryan McCormick, associate professor in IU's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies. ‘Physical activity interventions that require lower levels of exertion might be more conducive to improving transitory mood, or the ups and downs people with SMI experience throughout the day.’ McCormick said physical activity often is advocated in addition to psychiatric treatment for people with SMI because of the significant health concerns common to this population. The low levels of physical activity also common to this population poses a major hurdle, however. For this study, physical activity is considered most forms of sustained movement, such as house cleaning, gardening, walking for transportation or formal exercise. ‘The challenge is how to use naturally motivating activities that people have in their everyday lives to get them out and engaged,’ McCormick said."