Exercise vs. Meds
A recent study published in the British Medical Journal compared the effectiveness of exercise against that of proven medications in decreasing the risk of death in people known for coronary artery (heart) disease, stroke, heart failure and diabetes prevention. They looked at the combined results of 305 randomized control studies (the gold standard for clinical trials, with random participants receiving the intervention, with neither the testers nor the participants knowing who is receiving the intervention) involving almost 340,000 participants to come up with an answer.
The conclusion was that exercise is as effective as medications. More specifically, it’s as effective as three of the most commonly used medications to decrease the risk of death in people with coronary artery disease. It is more effective than blood-thinning medications prescribed after stroke. Only one medication class (diuretics or water pills) showed some evidence of being more effective in decreasing the risk of death in people with heart failure. Conversely, medications are as effective as exercise in decreasing the risk of diabetes in people with pre-diabetes (exercise has been shown to delay the risk of onset of Type 2 diabetes, the type most associated with aging).