Who would have thought that exercise can be as effective as drugs for treating heart disease and diabetes?!

A review in the British Medical Journal by Naci et al (2013) suggests that exercise and medication are potentially similar in their benefits for people suffering from heart disease, recovering from stroke and preventing diabetes.


Exercise is already known to reduce the risk of people developing heart disease and diabetes. And for people who already have these conditions, exercise can improve control of blood sugar levels, improve the working ability and efficiency of the heart, and reduce blood pressure…


So why are so many of us still given medication if the school of thought is that exercise is just as good? The researchers state that these findings are very promising but should be interpreted with caution. The participants were all given different exercises in different environments with different levels of support. Therefore for us it is not clear how much exercise is required to trigger beneficial changes in our bodies. Their hope is that future research will determine this.


Just last month the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) updated their clinical guidance. They state that people at risk of heart disease and stroke should address lifestyle changes such as exercise and diet before they receive statin therapy.

Exercise and Diet

So here is what the guideline recommends in terms of exercise:

  • At least 2.5 hours a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity
  • OR 75 minutes of vigorous intensity


We all know that it is difficult to meet these recommended guidelines, particularly for those of us with health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, aches and pains.  If you feel you need some guidance on how to exercise, please call London Home Physio on 0207 096 0684  or email  info@londonhp.com.