You are on page 1of 2

Is exercise the best medicine?

Studies show big benet


Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY 2:35 p.m. EDT October 2, 2013

Physicalactivitymaybeaseffectiveasmedicationsforpreventingearlydeathinsomepeoplewho'vehadheart attacksorstrokes,anewstudysuggests.
SHARE

620 6260
CONNECT TWEET

(https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=http://usat.ly/19ZnpVh&text=Is%20exercise%20the%20best%

Exercisemaybeaseffectiveasmedicationinpreventingearlydeathinpeoplewho'vehadheartattacksor strokes,anewstudysuggests. "Doctorsshouldgivetheirpatientsadviceaboutthelifesavingbenefitsofexercise,andwhenpossiblethey shouldreferpatientstorehabilitationprogramswithexerciseprograms,"saysthestudy'sleadauthor, HuseyinNaci,afellowatHarvardMedicalSchoolandagraduatestudentattheLondonSchoolof Economics. Thisaddstoalargevolumeofresearchonthebenefitsofregularphysicalactivity.Exercisehasbeenshown tolowertheriskofearlydeath,helpcontrolweightandreducetheriskofheartdisease,stroke,type2 diabetes,depression,sometypesofcancerandahostofotherconditions.Itlowerstheriskofcognitive declineandhipfractures. Butonlyabout21%ofadultsintheUSAmeetthegovernment'srecommendationsforaerobicandmusclestrengtheningexercise,recentdatashow. STORY:Exercise,weightcontrolreducebreastcancerrisk(http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/01/breastcancerexerciseweight control/2795127/) STORY:Mostpeoplearen'tmeetingexerciseguidelines(http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/02/physicalactivity guidelines/2128971/) NaciandacolleagueatStanfordUniversitySchoolofMedicineanalyzedtheresultsof305studiesinvolving339,274people.Theylookedatearly deathinpatientswhohadhadstrokes,heartattacksorheartfailureorwereatriskfordevelopingtype2diabetes. Onlyabout14,700peopleparticipatedinexercisetrials.Exerciseinterventionsvariedamongstudies,butpatientswhohadastrokeusuallydida combinationofaerobicandstrengthtrainingexercises. AmongthefindingsreportedinBMJ(http://bmj.com),aBritishmedicaljournal: Amongstrokepatients,exercisewasmoreeffectivethandrugs.However,strokepatientswhoarecapableofexercisingmayhavebeenhealthierto beginwiththanthosewhocouldn'texercise,Nacisays. Forpeoplewhohadheartfailure,diureticdrugsweremoreeffectivethanexerciseandallothertypesofdrugtreatment. Forpatientswhohadhadheartattacks,exerciseappearedtobeaseffectiveasdrugsinpreventingearlydeaths,Nacisays. Forpeoplewithprediabetes,neitherexercisenordrugsreducedtheirriskofearlydeath,butthismaybeduetothesmallnumberofpeoplewiththis conditioninthestudies,hesays."Weknowfrompreviousresearchthatexerciseisbeneficialforthispopulation. "Onelimitationofthisanalysisistherewerefarfewerpeoplewhowereexercisinginthesestudiesthantakingmedications.Exerciseastreatmentis somethingthathasbeenunderresearched,"headds. Hesaysmoretrialscomparingtheeffectivenessofexerciseanddrugsareneededtohelpdoctorsandpatientsmakethebesttreatmentdecisions. "Exerciseshouldbeconsideredasaviablealternativeto,orincombinationwithmedications." NewYorkcardiologistRichardStein,aspokesmanfortheAmericanHeartAssociation,says,"Weareleftwiththesamemessagewehadbefore: Exercisetherapyworks.Drugtherapyworks.Thecombinationofthetwoisthemostreasonableapproach."

(Photo:PhilipWartenaforUSA TODAY)

TimothyChurch,aphysiciananddirectorofpreventivemedicineresearchatthePenningtonBiomedicalResearchCenterinBatonRouge,saysthe latestfindingsmake"sensetomewhenyouconsiderthatexercisestrengthensallpartsofthehumanmachinetheheart,theliver,thebrain,the bloodvessels,themuscles." "Healthcareprovidersstrugglewiththeconceptthatexercisealoneprovidessignificantclinicalbenefit.Thisstudyisencouragingbecauseweneed moreworkanddiscussiononthis,partlyasitrelatestohealthyaging. "Themostpowerfulthingyoucandoforyourhealthisbecomeactive,"hesays. Thegovernment'sphysicalactivityguidelinesrecommendgettingatleast2hoursaweekofmoderateintensityaerobicactivity,suchasbrisk walking,oronehourand15minutesaweekofvigorousintensityaerobicactivity,suchasjogging. Theguidelinesalsorecommendthatadultsdomusclestrengtheningactivities,suchaspushups,situpsorexercisesusingresistancebandsor weights.Theseactivitiesshouldinvolveallmajormusclegroupsandbedoneontwoormoredaysaweek,theguidelinessay.
SHARE

620 6260
CONNECT TWEET

(https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=http://usat.ly/19ZnpVh&text=Is%20exercise%20the%20best%20medicine?%20Studies%20sho

HEALTH AND WELLNESS (/TOPIC/D2591A44-DFD94D0D-AF7A-CC0B3B92CBB0/HEALTH-ANDWELLNESS/)

Review of vitamin D studies nds little health benet

(/story/news/nation/2014/01/23/vitamindresearch/4803613/)
(/story/news/nation/2014/01/23/vitamin-dresearch/4803613/) Kim Painter

The week in health: 5 things you need to know

(/story/news/nation/2014/01/24/healthmarijuanaheart-utexting/4817321/)
(/story/news/nation/2014/01/24/health-marijuana-heartu-texting/4817321/) Kim Painter

FDA to revise nutrition facts label