Did you know that exercise is one of the safest, most effective ways to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as heart disease?
This common-sense advice was again confirmed in a meta-review conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Stanford University,1 which compared the effectiveness of exercise versus drug interventions on mortality outcomes for four common conditions:
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart failure
After reviewing 305 randomized controlled trials, which included nearly 339,300 people, they found “no statistically detectable differences” between physical activity and medications for prediabetes and heart disease.
Exercise was also found to be more effective than drugs after you’ve had a stroke. The only time drugs beat exercise was for the recovery from heart failure, in which case diuretic medicines produced a better outcome.
One of the key health benefits of exercise is that it helps normalize your glucose, insulin, and leptin levels by optimizing insulin/leptin receptor sensitivity. Exercise-improved insulin/leptin receptor sensitivity is perhaps the most important factor for optimizing your overall health and preventing chronic disease.
Exercise also encourages your brain to work at optimum capacity by causing your nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections, and protecting them from damage. Unexpected side effects of exercise include improved changes in gene expression, clearer skin, and improved mood and sleep
Research shows that the “secret” to increased productivity and happiness on any given day is a long-term investment in regular exercise, and a little each day appears to go further than a lot once or twice a week.