A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found nearly one in 10 participants were able to give up diabetes medication after 2 years on a diet and exercise program.
Beyond diabetes, exercise has also been shown to be an effective tool against other chronic conditions.
"For chronic lower back pain, new guidelines from the American College of Physicians say you should try non-drug therapies, including exercise, before you pop a pill," said Trish Calvo, Consumer Reports health and food editor.
For arthritis sufferers, weight training can build muscle strength, thereby reducing pressure on joints and improving stability.
"But it's important to learn how to use weights correctly from a certified trainer or a physical therapist to avoid worsening joint pain," Calvo said.
Strength training can help people with diabetes, too. The more muscle you have, the less likely you are to store extra glucose as fat.
It's also important for those with diabetes to have some food before working out. Those on insulin should discuss the best time to exercise with their doctor. Both steps help avoid a potentially dangerous drop in blood sugar.
A recent Mayo Clinic study found repeated bouts of cardio bursts followed by rest, known as interval training, produced an increase in endurance in test subjects.
Scientists believe this training influences mitochondria to produce energy for muscle cells. Good to note as those new to exercise appreciate the mini-breaks the training allows.
Consumer Reports says study shows exercise can be more beneficial than medicine
More food coach
HEALTH & FITNESS
More Health & Fitness