Exercise as Medicine—Evidence for 26 Chronic Diseases

Is exercise really medicine? Yes, according to reviews by Pedersen and Saltin (2015) and Luan et al. (2019).

There’s now evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in 26 different chronic diseases. In case you’re short on time, here’s the full list:

  • Musculoskeletal diseases (low back pain, tendon injury, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and hip fracture)
  • Metabolic diseases (obesity, type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
  • Cardio-cerebral vascular system diseases (coronary artery disease, stroke, and chronic heart failure)
  • Nervous system diseases (Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety disorders)
  • Respiratory system diseases (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, interstitial lung disease, and after lung transplantation)
  • Urinary system diseases (chronic kidney disease and after kidney transplantation)
  • Cancers (breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer)

Best part is, you don’t have to exercise that much to benefit. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 75 weekly minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity is enough to improve your health. And yes, lifting weights counts.

So even if you’re crazy busy, and you can only lift 30 minutes, 3 times a week, you’re still reducing your risk of the 26 chronic diseases listed above.

It’s worth it. We can help.