Exercise Better Than Pills for Your Health?


What is better for you, exercise or pills? If you’ve been prescribed pills, don’t stop taking them, without first getting the go-ahead to do so from your doctor; but, exercise has been found, according to a new study, to be as beneficial for certain types of heart disease and to ward off strokes as pills. Exercising regularly just might be better than eating an apple a day in keeping you healthy.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).  Hundreds of trials were conducted comparing and contrasting the benefits of both exercise and drugs. The clinical trials involved almost 340,000 individuals.

What were the results of the hundreds of trials?

The trials demonstrated that exercise actually outperformed stroke medicine and it was nearly as good as, if not as good as, taking some heart medications.

The researchers suggested that drugs shouldn’t be necessarily replaced, but adding exercise to taking the drugs could prove to be much better for your health than just taking the drugs without the addition of exercising.

Most adults don’t get the exercise that they should to stay healthy. There is a correlation, though not an exact one, between not getting enough exercise and developing certain ailments.

Two-thirds of the people in England, for example, don’t get the amount of exercise that’s recommended, which is two and a half hours, every week, of an activity such as fast walking or bicycling.

On the other hand, doctors are prescribing pills at a higher rate every year. There were an average in 2000 in England of 11.2 prescriptions written. Compare that with the year 2010, when the average had risen to 17.7 per person.

Scientists from three different prestigious schools researched through all of the available medical literature they could find on the subject. They decided to include 305 trials in their analysis.

The trials examined the use of exercise to help manage conditions like pre-diabetes, rehabilitation from stroke, and existing heart disease.

By doing an analysis of all of these medical studies, and comparing how both exercise and drugs have helped people, the researchers came to the conclsuion that exercising was often comparable to prescribed drugs when death rates were compared.

However, diuretic drugs were by far better than exercise for patients experiencing heart failure. But, exercise was better than medication when it cane to stroke patients.

According to NHS Choices, regular exercise has many benefits. For instance, it can lower by as much as 50 percent a person’s risk of getting a major illness such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Also, a person’s risk of early death can be lowered by as much as 30 percent.

Everyone knows that exercise can help keep extra weight off, but it can also help to improve your energy levels, self-esteem, mood, and sleep quality. Exercise such as fast-walking, jogging, or cycling is also a beneficial workout for a person’s lungs and heart.

By all means, don’t just decide on your own to give up taking any medications that a doctor has prescribed for you. But, consulting with your physician about whether or not you’re healthy enough to add an exercise program to your everyday routine might enable you to see far greater benefits to your health than just taking pills alone.

According to Dr Peter Coleman of the Stroke Association: “By taking important steps, such as regular exercise, eating a balanced diet and stopping smoking, people can significantly reduce their risk of stroke.”

Dr. Coleman added: “Moderate physical activity, for example, can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 27%.”

Exercise is a great way to stay in shape, feel fit, and it just might keep a doctor away better than “eating an apple a day.” Or, at the very least, it might lower the dosage of medication that you need to take to control certain medical conditions.


Written by: Douglas Cobb

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