The work in the British Medical Journal looked at hundreds of trials involving nearly 340,000 patients to assess the merits of exercise and drugs in preventing death.
Physical activity rivaled some heart drugs and outperformed stroke medicine. The findings suggest exercise should be added to prescriptions, say the researchers. Experts stressed that patients should not ditch their drugs for exercise - rather, they should use both in tandem.
Too few adults currently get enough exercise. Only a third of people in England do the recommended 2.5 hours or more of moderate-intensity activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.
Can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%
Can lower your risk of early death by up to 30%
Can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy as well as keep weight off
Moderate activity, such as cycling or fast walking, gives your heart and lungs a work-out
I take a daily walk along the footpath outside my home, only declining if I'm in too much pain. During a second hip replacement, my femur shattered. It's been screwed together, but the leg was always crooked. Now, over ten years later, I find it hard to walk unaided, so I use a rollator for my 15 minute walk up and down a steep incline. I can feel my heart pumping and the brush of wind on my cheeks and lifting my hair. I look around at the way the seasons are changing and I know I'm alive and well.
How about you?