Cognitive impairment is one of the core features of schizophrenia. This study examined the influences of an aerobic dance programme on the cognitive functions of people with schizophrenia. A quasi-experimental matched-control design was applied. The experimental group (n = 17) participated in a 60-minute aerobic dance group class three times a week for 3 months. The control group (n = 19) participated in colouring and handwriting activities. Cognitive functions were measured before and after the interventions for both groups. The intervention group experienced significant improvements in processing speed, memory and executive function, whereas no significant changes were noted in any measures in the control group. While there were no significant between-group differences, the data showed approximately medium effect sizes that favoured the intervention group in regard to processing speed (Cohen's d = 0.51), memory (d = 0.35–0.41) and the spontaneity and fluency aspects of executive function (d = 0.51). While the small sample size and lack of randomization were the primary methodological shortcomings, this study provides preliminary results supporting aerobic dance as an adjunct activity-based intervention to improve cognitive functions in people with schizophrenia. More rigorous studies are needed to validate the findings.
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