Exercise may be just as effective as many drugs in lowering risk for death in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, and prevention of diabetes, according to an analysis of randomized controlled trials published online October 1 in the British Medical Journal.
Although the researchers note that they were able to find a limited number of randomized controlled trials of exercise, their analysis of combined trial data found no detectable differences in death rates between exercise and drug interventions in the secondary prevention in coronary heart disease and in prediabetes. For stroke patients, the findings suggest that physical activity is more effective at preventing death than drug treatments, including anticoagulants and antiplatelets. However, diuretics appear more effective than exercise in preventing death in cases of heart failure.
Exercise doesn’t have to be hard work. A fast walk is exercise – it just needs to be done regularly! Think about where you can create opportunities to increase your exercise. Take the stairs not the lift or the escalator, walk to the shops don’t drive or park further away. Walk your children to school – don’t drive them or ride a bike with them.