Exercise is as good as drugs.

The risk of dying from a variety of causes can be reduced by exercise, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. The effect of exercise was as strong as the effect of drugs for the prevention of diabetes, coronary heart disease, rehabilitation of stroke, and treatment of heart failure. The authors reviewed 305 previous trials that involved almost 340,000 people, making their findings very reliable.

Exercise has been also proven to prevent migraine headaches (see my previous post). This finding was based on a review of over 46,000 patient records, also a very large number that suggests a true effect. Most people don’t need these studies to convince them of the benefits – they know that exercise improves their headaches and makes them feel better. The most common problem is lack of time and motivation. However, headaches also cost time and reduce productivity, so exercising 30 minutes four days a week will save time.

Doctor recommendations often do influence their patients’ behavior and doctors need to remember to emphasize to their patients the importance of exercise, both for headaches and other conditions.

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