A study in the British Medical Journal has shown that exercise can be as effective a treatment as conventional medication for some conditions. By examining 305 different trials, researchers found that patients that used exercise regularly as treatment rivaled or surpassed patients taking pills for the same conditions when examining their life expectancies.
The study was conducted by researchers at the London School of Economics, Stanford University School of Medicine, and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute at Harvard Medical School. Researchers scanned thousands of studies comparing exercise and medication and narrowed their analysis down to 305 of them. The cases included nearly 340,000 patients, treating conditions such as stroke rehab, heart disease and heart failure, and pre-diabetes.
On the whole, the study found medication and exercise comparable when comparing patients’ life expectancy. Patients treating heart failure were one exception for which diuretic drugs were clearly more effective than exercise. But in the case of stroke patients, exercise was shown to be a superior treatment to prolong life.
The findings suggest that exercise should be considered as part of medical prescriptions, not as a replacement, but as a supplement to conventional medication.
Learn more about the role of exercise in good health.