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Benefits of exercise therapy for chronic diseases
  1. U M Kujala
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Kujala
 Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyvaskyla, PO Box 35, Jyvaskyla, Finland; urho.kujala{at}

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Evidence on the benefits of exercise therapy for chronic diseases based on randomised controlled trials is accumulating

Regular physical activity is one means of decreasing disability and increasing the number of independently living elderly people, as well as decreasing the costs of the healthcare system. On the basis of a recent review of the results of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), there is accumulating evidence that, in patients with chronic disease, exercise therapy is effective in increasing fitness and correcting some risk factors for the development of disease complications.1


Traditionally physical activity has been regarded as a powerful tool in the prevention of certain chronic diseases, even though this has been confirmed in only a very few cases by RCTs.2 When the strength of evidence for the use of exercise in health care is evaluated, data from epidemiological observational follow ups, studies on the mechanisms of disease, and controlled clinical trials are used. Observational follow up studies can be biased for many reasons, such as genetic selection bias and inability to control …

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  • Competing interests: none declared