(NaturalNews) Readers of our site have no doubt heard for years that regular  exercise leads to healthier minds and bodies, but new research indicates that  physical exercise on a routine basis is just as effective as prescription  medications in treating chronic, sometimes deadly, diseases – and without all of  the associated drug toxicities.
According to a study published recently  in the British Medical Journal, scientists from the London School of  Economics, Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine  wanted to see if the benefits of exercise and drugs from past clinical trials  were comparable, in a bid to see if they could extend a person’s  life.
Doctors should be discussing exercise as therapy with  patients
“What we have is a body of research that looks at benefits  of exercise alone and then a separate body of research that looks at benefits of  drugs on their own,” lead researcher Huseyin Naci, a researcher at the London  School of Economics and a pharmaceutical policy research fellow at the Harvard  Medical School, told FoxNews.com. “There’s never been a study that  compares these two together, so that’s the rationale for this  research.”
Naci’s team examined four areas of health where the evidence  suggests or has shown that exercise can have some lifesaving benefits. Those  areas were secondary prevention of heart disease, prevention of diabetes, stroke  rehabilitation and treatment of heart failure.
FoxNews.com reported:
Researchers then compiled a list of the different classes of  drugs people commonly take  to manage these conditions, and ultimately came up with 305 randomized clinical  trials to analyze. The study involved 339,274 people, 15,000 of whom received  physical intervention for their health conditions while the rest were included  in drug trials.
Overall, the researchers saw no significant difference  between exercise and drug  intervention for the secondary prevention of heart disease and the prevention of  diabetes. And in the case of stroke patients, exercise was found to be more  effective than drug treatment at extending a person’s mortality. However,  diuretic drugs were found to be more effective than exercise and other drugs for  the
helping [sic] patients with heart  failure.
Given the team’s findings, Naci says the study’s  results indicate that heart disease and diabetes patients should not completely  deviate from their current treatment standards.
“One thing that is very  much not a takeaway is that patients should stop taking their medications  without consulting with their doctors,” Naci said. “However, doctors do need to  have really candid conversations with patients about the lifesaving benefits of  exercise.”
And how.
Naci goes on to say, however, that therapies  combining both diet and exercise might not be the answer either, because one  might work against the other. He points to a recent study published by the  Journal of the American College of Cardiology which found that statins,  which are commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, may actually block some of  the health benefits of exercise.
Sports medicine should be the avenue  of research
What  patients really deserve, said Naci, is a better understanding of which are the  best treatment options, and for that, more clinical trials would be needed in  order to close the knowledge gap.
“We need a lot more research to really  tease out the lifesaving benefits from exercise,” he said, “as well as which  exercise works best for different types of individuals.”
The concept of  using exercise to combat chronic illness isn’t new, according to a separate  study published in the British Medical Journal in 2004. But it did not  gain respect as a potential treatment modality until the 20th  century.
“Today, exercise scientists are exploring the limits of exercise  as a therapy – of exercise as a medicine,” write G.E. Moore. “Sports medicine  doctors, the few physicians who actually know something about both exercise and  medicine, ought to be leading this transformation. For every injured athlete,  there are a score of patients for whom exercise prescription should be the  cornerstone of their medical management.”
Learn more:  http://www.naturalnews.com/042514_exercise_chronic_disease_natural_treatment.html#ixzz2hzvM3X68