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Cycling: the miracle cure – new report seeks to remind doctors that exercise can be as effective as many drugs

Doctors urged to prescribe cycling, dancing and sex

A new report from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges calls on doctors to encourage their patients to partake in regular exercise. Dancing, cycling, even sex, it argues, are more effective than many drugs and can bring dramatic health benefits.

Lead author, Scarlett McNally, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, spent two years analysing more than 200 separate pieces of research to gauge the full impact that regular physical activity could have on the nation’s health.

“This is about reminding doctors and patients that fitting small amounts of regular exercise into their schedule can make a huge difference to their health. It could be as simple as taking the stairs rather than a lift, kicking a ball about with your children or grandchildren. We’ve got to change what we think of as normal, because what we are seeing in our hospitals and surgeries up and down the country is that normal has become not enough exercise. Too many of my patients are paying the price for that with broken bones and years of ill-health that could have been avoided by being more active.”

Just 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week can help patients with depression, keep diabetes under control and make prostate cancer much less likely to spread. McNally also told The Times that she had come to realise how many of her elderly patients with fractured hips could have avoided the injury if they had done more exercise.

“Exercise is as good as many of the drugs out there but it’s not been sold like that before,” she said, adding that little and often was the way to go for most people. “When you fit it into your daily routine so it’s just what you do, you become fitter and healthier without having to force it.”

Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges which commissioned the report said:

“This is about people and their doctors believing that the small effort involved is worth it because they are worth it. There really is a miracle cure staring us in the face, one which too many patients and doctors have quite simply forgotten about.”

Last month, a study of 334,161 people, conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge, found that inactivity causes 676,000 deaths a year, while obesity contributes to approximately 337,000 deaths. Moderate activity has also been found to reduce your risk of catching flu.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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17 comments

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Gourmet Shot | 8 years ago
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Just a good job i'm excellent at all 3  16

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ianrobo | 8 years ago
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As someone who suffers from depression I can testify how exercise really helps the mental state. I believe the NHS should actually be able to prescribe personal training sessions for depression and other issues like that.

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AJ101 replied to ianrobo | 8 years ago
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There's been a few cycling for health programmes around, both on referral and without referral. There's definitely funding out there, its just a case of identifying the funding sources , maybe primary health trust, maybe local authority, and making a good bid.

Any cycling instructors out there? Go for it, you can work decent expenses from it and help a huge amount of people.

Theres a fair bit of material to get you started if this sounds like something you might be interested in
http://www.celebratingcycling.org/images/downloads/Health_on_Wheels_guide.pdf (old but should give you an idea)

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Cyclist | 8 years ago
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I see that the ministry of the Bleedin obvious has been busy again. Who the fook funds this research.......

' Dancing, cycling, even sex, it argues, are more effective than many drugs and can bring dramatic health benefits,

No shit Sherlock... Who argues against this???? I don't actually think there was an argument to argue that physical activity brings about health benefits. I wish I could get a job doing research on things that are already irrefutably proven. Right lads this week we need to prove that the sun shines on the Gold Coast during January, pack your bags....

So this also means that I get to ride my bike more than once a month  3

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HarrogateSpa | 8 years ago
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Quote:

a study of 334,161 people, conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge, found that inactivity causes 676,000 deaths a year

That's a 200% mortality rate, pretty high! I know, I know.

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andyp | 8 years ago
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'prescribe' sex? So for just £8.05 one could pop into the local pharmacy and get one's end away?

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farrell replied to andyp | 8 years ago
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andyp wrote:

'prescribe' sex? So for just £8.05 one could pop into the local pharmacy and get one's end away?

Don't be ridiculous.

You'd get yourself a Prepaid Prescription Certificate and get yourself in a few times a week.

Some of us aren't made of money you know...

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Municipal Waste replied to andyp | 8 years ago
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It's as much as that?  29

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Hensteeth replied to andyp | 8 years ago
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andyp wrote:

'prescribe' sex? So for just £8.05 one could pop into the local pharmacy and get one's end away?

I have a preprepaid certificate, so I have already paid for it. £100 per annum. The pharmacist is quite hot too. I'm in!

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NJA | 8 years ago
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Three of my four favorite things - if they could add beer to the list I could be their poster boy!  21

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bikebot | 8 years ago
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Dancing, cycling and sex. That's a hell of a triathlon.

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Dnnnnnn replied to bikebot | 8 years ago
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bikebot wrote:

Dancing, cycling and sex. That's a hell of a triathlon.

In which order do/would they take place...?

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Nixster | 8 years ago
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"small amounts of regular exercise"

It may be small but it's nowhere near as regular as I would like.

But then neither is the cycling....  24

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thesaladdays | 8 years ago
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Three highly-enjoyable activities, a nice break from the usual 'thou shalt not eat x and y.' Hooray for this kind of medical research!  4

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Mike T. | 8 years ago
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Would it be ok to drop the dancing and substitute high intensity pub crawling?

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T.Stringer replied to Mike T. | 8 years ago
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Why not run between pubs, rather than crawl?

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ericbike | 8 years ago
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Presumably not all at the same time or Road Bike Party 4 will need an 18 certificate  21

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