It is common understanding that exercise is good for you and broadly speaking people who exercise tend to have longer, healthier lives. But until recent years, researchers have tallied its benefits only in narrow slices: Exercise lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure; it helps you burn calories, it can improve musculature size and strength etc. It was only as recent as 2013 that a research study actually compared the effectiveness of exercise interventions against drug interventions on mortality outcomes.
In this review, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers from the London School of Economics, Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine sought to compare the effect of exercise to that of drug therapy on different health outcomes. These included coronary heart disease, recovery post stroke and the prevention of diabetes.
What was found?
After reviewing a total of 305 randomised control trials, involving a total of 339,274 participants, they found no detectable differences between the two methods of intervention in the prevention of diabetes and in the prevention of further cardiac events for coronary heart disease patients. Of the four health outcomes tested, only heart failure was found to be more beneficially affected by drug intervention over exercise, and this is likely due to the strain of physical activity not being recommended for their condition. Interestingly it was found exercise and physical activity offered greater benefits than drug interventions to those who experienced stroke.
What does this mean?
This study by no means suggests that exercise should solely replace medication in the treatment of these health outcomes.
It instead serves to highlight the importance of exercise and how crucial a part it plays in helping you live longer better, alongside your medications.
A really interesting point that this study makes, is that the existing body of research into drug interventions is vastly larger than that of exercise, with a likely reason for this being the financial incentive behind drug development and pharmaceuticals. This has therefore hindered the development of a clear and concise prescription for optimal exercise recommendations for many medical conditions.
This is where the value of what CP+R’s team of industry leading experts really makes the difference for you. We are consistently improving and developing our strategies with the latest scientific recommendations and research to ensure that the programme that we create for you is optimised to best impact your health.
At CP+R we prescribe your bespoke exercise programme under the same guise, as your doctor does your medication. Working together with them, our goal of is helping you to Live Longer Better.
(study for reference – Comparative effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions on mortality outcomes: metaepidemiological study, https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5577)