The Natural Way To Beat Stroke
Imagine walking out of a doctor’s office with an Rx for lunges, push-ups, and sprints, instead of prescription medication. New research published in theBritish Medical Journalsuggests that might not be a bad idea: exercise could be just as effective as drugs for treating and preventing some common diseases.
A team of researchers from the London School of Economics, Harvard, and Stanford analyzed the results of 305 trials involving 339,274 subjects and found no significant difference in outcomes between those who had undergone an exercise treatment versus those who received medication for heart disease treatment, stroke rehabilitation, heart failure treatment, and diabetes prevention.
“Based on these findings, we conclude that exercise can be considered either as a viable alternative to or alongside drug therapy in clinical practice,” says study author Huseyin Naci, a doctoral candidate at the London School of Economics and one of the researchers.
The types of workouts varied from trial to trial and were dependent on the type of disease. For example, patients with stroke performed a mix of cardiorespiratory and muscle strengthening exercises, while exercise interventions targeting patients with chronic heart failure included aerobic and resistance training. And for people with prediabetes, physical activity was just one component of lifestyle modification interventions to prevent diabetes.
You shouldn’t stop taking medications without consulting with your doctor, but you should talk with your doctor about how exercise could benefit you. Some docs may even be able to refer patients to structured exercise programs that have established benefits for various diseases, says Naci.
“Doctors and their patients should have candid conversations about the life-saving benefits of exercise, consider whether exercise can help them reach their treatment objectives, and set realistic physical activity goals,” he says.
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