A recent study set out to compare the effectiveness of drugs versus exercise in preventing heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. Not surprisingly, researchers found that exercise works as well as or better than medications and can also reduce recovery time after a major health crisis. The real story has little to do with the outcomes of the study and everything to do with the fact that more studies of this kind haven’t been conducted.
The benefits of exercise are almost too numerous to list, so why are researchers just now collecting concrete evidence to back up information that most people already regarded as true? Turns out that there has been a real “blind spot” when it comes to looking at whether exercise is actually more effective that drugs.
Our priorities may be more than a little off when we put more time and money into creating and testing drugs instead of learning about preventative measures. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can help improve a whole host of health conditions including blood pressure and diabetes. A simple walk can also improve your cognitive skills and prevent cancer. So why are doctors prescribing pills and not exercise? Shouldn’t we be working on our health instead of treating the symptoms of poor health?
Of course every individual is responsible for their own choices and their own health, but should’t doctors also be responsible for providing their patients with as much information as possible, including how they may be able to avoid taking medication? Maybe we simply need to change our mindset and start thinking about nutritious food and regular exercise as medicine.
As Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” Perhaps the future should be now.