Exercise is the real polypill

Physiology (Bethesda). 2013 Sep;28(5):330-58. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00019.2013.


The concept of a "polypill" is receiving growing attention to prevent cardiovascular disease. Yet similar if not overall higher benefits are achievable with regular exercise, a drug-free intervention for which our genome has been haped over evolution. Compared with drugs, exercise is available at low cost and relatively free of adverse effects. We summarize epidemiological evidence on the preventive/therapeutic benefits of exercise and on the main biological mediators involved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Polypharmacy
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Signal Transduction


  • Drug Combinations