The healing power of exercise

Exercise can be effective in treating common illnesses

Exercise may be just as effective as drugs in treating common diseases, a recent study has found.

The research reveals being active is just as good as medicine for those with existing heart disease and in the prevention of diabetes. It also appeared to be a more effective treatment than drugs for people who had suffered a stroke.

Experts at the London School of Economics, Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine in the United States have said their findings suggest “exercise interventions should therefore be considered as a viable alternative to, or alongside, drug therapy”.

“Indeed, an increasing number of experts recommend prescribing an ‘exercise pill’ as a preventive strategy to reduce morbidity and mortality,” the research team said.

So if you emerge from your next GP appointment wondering what to do with such a recommendation, don’t worry, here’s what I prescribe:

Take your first steps to fitness slowly. Why not begin by easing yourself into exercise at home, in the garden, or even in the park?

Keep things simple. Try some fail-safe exercises like walking, jogging, push ups, squats and lunges. Not only have these basic exercises been a staple of fitness regimes for centuries and proven to work, they are also free of charge and can be done anywhere.


Variety is the spice of life, so make sure you try out different things. Give everything a go and keep your body guessing! However, if you do stick to one thing make sure to push yourself harder each week.

If you have never had any experience with exercise and are still at a loss with where to begin, don’t just give up! The internet is a fantastic resource with plenty of information and tips from fitness professionals, which will be more than enough to get you started.

You might even know a personal trainer or fitness instructor who could help you find your feet. If all else fails, talk to friends who exercise and try out what they have been doing.

There is no great secret to losing weight or getting fit, and once you tidy up your daily diet and exercise regularly it will happen. When it does, don’t be afraid to give yourself a pat on the back.

However, don’t get complacent. What helped you lose a pound or two this week might not next week. So remember – constantly challenge yourself!

Whatever form of exercise you decide to do, make sure it is enjoyable, safe and sweaty!