Exercise can help cut mortality in stroke and heart disease

In the UK, only 14% of adults exercise regularly, while prescription drug use continues to rise. 

There was an average of 17.7 prescriptions for every person in England in 2010, compared with 11.2 in 2000.

UK and US researchers analysed 16 meta-analyses, which included 305 trials with more than 300,000 participants, to compare the effectiveness of exercise versus medication on mortality across four conditions – secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, stroke rehabilitation, treatment of heart failure and prevention of diabetes. 

They found no statistically detectable mortality differences between exercise and drugs for secondary prevention of CHD, such as statins, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and antiplatelets, or prevention of diabetes with medications such as alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, biguanides, ACE inhibitors and glinides. 

Among stroke patients, exercise was more effective than medications including