Whoever said laughter is the best medicine should have taken a spin class, as it turns out. In a recent study published by BMJ, exercise was found to be as powerful as prescription medications in treating the leading causes of death. The study was helmed by Huseyin Naci, a graduate student at the London School of Economics, and Dr. John Ioannidis, a director at Stanford University's School of Medicine. Together, Naci and Ioannidis compared the effect of prescribed medications and exercise on the mortality rate among people with heart disease, chronic heart failure, stroke, and diabetes. The results? Well, if you're looking for an excuse to skip the gym this week, you're not going to find it here.
In the cases of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke sufferers, exercise was just as effective as medication. (Heart failure was the only area where Rxs where noticeably more effective.) This means that people who exercised instead of taking the most commonly prescribed medications had the same chance of surviving or dying from the disease. We hear you: It doesn't sound all that impressive to break even when it comes to the odds of dying from a disease. But, when you factor in the side effects of medications and the role genetics plays in some of these issues, it's hard to argue against exercise as a healthy alternative — and a potent one, at that.
So, the next time you're weighing sleeping in vs. a quick morning jog, keep in mind that working up a sweat is doing your body a big favor. (The New York Times)