Can a Dose of Exercise Reduce the Dose of Your Medications?

Whether it be antibiotics to fight off an infection, supplements for bone health or medication to lower our blood pressure, we all have taken prescribed medication at various times in our lives. We take the medication as our health professional recommends because we want our health issue treated or managed.


There seems to be a supplement or medication available that is the answer for many an ailment or condition but if we were prescribed 30-60 minutes of light to moderate intensity exercise once per day in replace of a dose of medication for the same outcome, which option would we likely take? What if the dose of exercise could replace or minimise the need for more than one medication on our seemingly ever-growing list we take to the chemist?

There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that exercise can have positive effects on many common chronic diseases. Reducing the severity, minimising the symptomology and improving our health related quality of life all can be achieved through exercise.

Here is how exercise can have a positive effect on 5 common Chronic Diseases:


  • Blood Pressure: Aerobic exercise improves how our heart and lungs function as well as keeping our blood vessels healthy. Exercise alone has been shown that it is effective in reducing our blood pressure. By reducing our blood pressure we can significantly reduce the risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease and suffering a heart attack or a stroke.
  • Cholesterol: Aerobic exercise has been shown to help improve our overall cholesterol levels as well as improving the balance of good and bad cholesterols in our blood. This also reduces the risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease and suffering a heart attack or a stroke.
  • Osteoporosis: Weight bearing exercise improves our bone health and reduces age related loss in bone strength. Ensuring our bones are healthy and strong reduces the risk of fractures.
  • Osteoarthritis: Strength exercise has been shown to relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis. Having strong and stable muscles around our joints takes some of the pressure and load off the joint itself. Nice strong muscles help with joint alignment and correct biomechanics when we are moving.
  • Chronic Low Back Pain: Core based strengthening exercise, for example Pilates, can improve posture and strength which has been shown to improve symptoms of chronic pain and allow us to do more activity within our pain limitations. Exercise can also help with the anxiety and depression relating to chronic pain issues.

So why not ensure we add a dose of exercise into our daily routine and reduce the need for some medication. Take the Exercise Right quiz to find out how to Exercise Right for your uniqueness.

Here are 3 easy ways how:


exercise to reduce your medication doseExercise Right’s top tips to reduce your medication dose:


  1. Get our heart pumping – put those comfortable sports shoes on and head out for a brisk walk, a swim or a bike ride for some aerobic exercise. Take the dog, take the family, take the friends and enjoy the fresh air and an endorphin rush. Start small just 10 continuous minutes and gradually increase the time as you get fitter!
  2. Get our muscles moving – join in some exercise classes, register for a social sporting team or put on an exercise DVD and strengthen those muscles!
  3. Minimise our time spent sitting – studies show a link between chronic diseases and the amount of time we spend sitting. So wherever possible during our day stand; stand to talk on the phone, stand to iron the work clothes, stand to read the newspaper.



Jaclyn is an ESSA Accredited Exercise Physiologist specialising in Chronic Disease Management and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation.