A British Medical Journal study indicates that structured exercise be “as good or better” than some drugs that are frequently prescribed for common cardiovascular ailments.

The study begins with a telling range of stats and facts:

  • “Population level cohort studies have shown that people who exercise enjoy a higher quality of life and improved health status compared with those with sedentary behaviours, with subsequent reductions in their risk of adverse outcomes such as admissions to hospital.”
  • “Randomised controlled trials have shown similarly favourable findings in arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses, among other chronic conditions.”
  • “Large scale observational studies have also established a clear association between exercise and all cause mortality.”
  • “The Global Burden of Disease study has recently ranked physical inactivity as the fifth leading cause of disease burden in western Europe, and as one of the top modifiable risk factors along with smoking.”

And as the researchers saw, in the UK, relatively low levels of physical activity as compared with rising levels of prescription drugs, they wanted to understand to what extent exercise may be the way to go.

Their conclusion was clear: “Although limited in quantity, existing randomised trial evidence on exercise interventions suggests that exercise and many drug interventions are often potentially similar in terms of their mortality benefits in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes.”