written by john c ashworth, ma, cscs, ces
Exercise is really good for you.
So good, in fact, that in a recent comprehensive study published in the British Medical Journal, regular exercise worked as well as prescription drugs in terms of their effectiveness in improving mortality outcomes (secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation of stroke, treatment of heart failure, prevention of diabetes). Medically, “Secondary prevention of heart disease” is attempting to prevent additional heart related events in those diagnosed with heart disease or who have had a heart attack or both.
Stroke & Heart Failure
When it came to stroke, exercise was more effective than drugs. While the diuretics used in the treatment of heart failure were the only drugs that outperformed exercise in this review.
To this point, not much research has placed exercise and prescription medicines side by side and compared their ability to positively affect outcomes for common diseases like heart disease, diabetes and stroke. In this meta-analysis, however, investigators reviewed a large number of studies of both drugs and exercise. And the volume of data they have reviewed is stunning.
Where the Data Came From:
- Researchers included 16 (four exercise and 12 drug) meta-analyses.
- Incorporating an additional three recent exercise trials, this scientific review collectively included 305 randomized controlled trials with 339,274 participants.
Considering the volume of data collected, and the results that point directly to the benefits of exercise on mortality outcomes, it is clear that exercise, whenever possible, should always be a part of the treatment plan for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. And that even though drugs outperformed exercise when it came to heart failure in this review, there is plenty of data that documents the benefits of exercise in the treatment of heart failure.*
*While it might seem counterintuitive to the casual observer, exercise and even strength training can be very beneficial in the treatment of heart failure. In its most simple terms, the stronger and more fit the body, the less strain on the heart during one’s activities of daily living. Training adaptations in the skeletal muscle are extremely valuable to the patient diagnosed with heart failure.
PS This piece got a little scientific which I like to do here from time to time. If any of the terminology is unfamiliar or confusing, just post your question in the comments section below.
Thanks for being a reader and fan of my NBC 15 fitness segment with Leigh Mills. I would love to hear from you below using your facebook profile.…
You can also become a fan on facebook of The Fitness Nomad Report at: http://www.facebook.com/fitnessnomadreport