Researchers from the London School of Economics and Harvard and Stanford medical schools looked into how conditions like Type 2 diabetes, repeat heart attacks, repeat strokes and heart failure could be affected by exercise.
They found that “no statistically detectable differences were evident between exercise and drug interventions in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and prediabetes.”
They did find that medicine was more effective in preventing death due to heart failure.
"Exercise is a potent strategy to save and extend life in coronary heart disease and other conditions," said study co-author Huseyin Nac of Harvard Medical School. "We think exercise can be considered or should be considered as a viable alternative or in combination with drug therapy."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates heart disease annually kills more than
600,000 people in the U.S. alone.
The authors of the study concluded: “Although limited in quantity, existing randomized trial evidence on exercise interventions suggests that exercise and many drug interventions are often potentially similar in terms of their mortality benefits in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes.”
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