A study (the Comparative effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions on mortality outcomes: metaepidemiological study) published recently in the British Medical Journal found that exercise could be as good as drugs for certain conditions. The conditions that were studied were secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation of stroke, treatment of heart failure and prevention of diabetes.
No statistically detectable differences were evident between exercise and drug interventions in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and prediabetes. However physical activity interventions were more effective than drug treatment among patients with stroke in terms of life expectancy. The only condition where drug benefits out weighed the exercise option was with heart failure.
However a recent University of Bristol-led study found 80% of adults failed to meet the government target of taking moderate exercise at least 12 times in a four-week period (the current guidelines are that activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity during the week).
There are of course certain limitations to the BMJ study but what can't be argued against is it is becoming more evident that exercise can help prevent disease and manage disease and yet it is still not seen as a priority in most people lives.
The question is what can be done to share the message that exercise is not only good for you but that it does not have to mean joining a gym, buying a pair of running shoes and hitting the treadmill, that something as simple as going for a walk counts. That the more we move the better we will feel. Part of me wonders if it is any of our business if people don't want to exercise, grown ups are allowed to make their own decisions, however I feel this is only valid if they have the right support structures in place to make that decision. If people know all the benefits of exercise, knew how to utlize motivational techniques and were able to regularly access health professionals who specialise in exercise maybe at a GP surgery and then decided not to exercise then it would be their choice.
What made you start exercising?
This article is NOT suggesting you give up your medically prescribed prescription medicine!
Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.
For more information on Personal Training in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. This will open a new browser window.