Category Archives: Exercise

Exercise versus Medicine

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Children love to exercise. Every day I am reminded by my kids how much exercise they naturally do every day. When we grow older, however, we become more and more sedentary.

Now a study has shown that exercise is as good as medication for the management of chronic disease: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sn-exercise-drugs-20131002,0,2582449.story

The researchers had gone over 300 studies and compared exercise versus medicine in the prevention of diabetes, heart disease, strokes etc. Guess what? Good ol’ Exercise is just as good!

In my field, it has been shown actually long ago that exercise was better than the medication metformin in the prevention of diabetes. However, knowing that a lot of people would not be able to do exercise, the American Diabetes Association still allows for metformin to be used in the prevention of diabetes.

Should doctors prescribe exercise? Of course! I do not know any doctor who would not prescribe it! So what’s the point of this study?

The key is this: this study looks at structured exercise that is monitored by physical therapists/ certified instructors. In good quality research, that is often undertaken so that the research actually knows that the patients do their exercise. Self-reported exercise just won’t cut it…

Unfortunately, structured exercise is expensive. For diabetes, generic metformin in Singapore costs less than S$6 a month at the government-run polyclinics. A lesson with a certified gym instructor would cost S$90 a session!

Nonetheless we should all do exercise ourselves, most of the days!

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