The benefits of exercise have long been touted by physicians and researchers, but many people may be overlooking just how miraculous these benefits are. According to a report developed by the Medical Royal Colleges, exercise is a “miracle cure.”
There are many – a vast amount – of studies to support this theory. Let’s take a look at how exercise effects people with chronic diseases
Musculoskeletal Diseases: Researchers analyzed 32 separate trials that linked the effects of exercise on osteoarthritis pain in the knee. In all trials, exercise improved pain by increasing aerobic capacity and muscle strength. Studies on rheumatoid arthritis found similar results, and other musculoskeletal conditions like ankylosing spondylitis were improved by exercise as well.
Heart Attacks: Controlled trials linked physiological benefits of exercise in people with heart failure, as exercise lowers blood pressure and can improve upon cholesterol and triglyceride levels. For people who have experienced heart attacks, exercise can reduce mortality rates by 27% — as well as cardiac mortality by 31%.
Diabetes: People with diabetes who exercise can better control their HbA1c values (linked to blood sugar levels). This means they’re more likely to reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
Parkinson’s Disease: Multiple studies found that physical function of patients with Parkinson’s Disease, along with quality of life, can be improved by physical activity. Studies have also found that exercise increases muscle strength and mobility in multiple sclerosis patients; exercise was also linked to increasing patients’ moods.
Depression: According to 23 different controlled trials, exercise improves depression-related symptoms.
If the above list isn’t enough – exercise lessened fatigue in patients undergoing cancer treatments, and improves symptoms related to chronic fatigue syndrome.
More and more studies are proving that exercise can be as good as drugs in many cases. A humongous study conducted in 2013 took a look at exercise vs. drugs in relation to mortality. For heart failure, diuretic drugs were shown to be more successful than exercise in preventing deaths, but exercise was found to work better than drugs in patients suffering from strokes.
To experience these amazing results – you don’t need to hit the gym for hours of workouts, or sign up for that Cross Fit class your friends have been telling you about. All you need is 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week – this comes out to about 30 minutes each day. Walking briskly counts as moderate intensity exercise, as does anything that keeps your heart rate between 110 and 140 beats per minute. Exercise is truly a no-brainer – so get out there and keep moving.