Research: People would rather take a pill than exercise.


A study found people would rather take a pill than exercise to treat high blood pressure.

Pills with a Thermometer

Pills with a Thermometer

The American culture is teetering on the edge of an abyss.  We are pending a fall into a state of poor health that is unprecedented on this scale.  Sure, we had the influenza epidemic that occurred in the 20th century, but this is sure to affect the lives and health of more people than ever before.  We can see the freight train coming, but we want to do little to prevent the pending onslaught.  High blood pressure is a leading risk factor tied to increased heart and blood vessel, or cardiovascular, disease. The unfortunate thing about this train is that it is a silent killer that many Americans do not know they have it.  The silent killer is hypertension.On April 8, 2018, Science Daily[1] reported on a new research study that people would rather take a pill than exercise.  This post on their popular blog is actually based on a news release from the American Heart Association[2] that predated the blog post by one day.  The blog post and news release are announcing a piece of research based on the result of a survey.  The survey was completed in July of 2017.  It looked at whether participants would be willing to take a pill, drink a cup of tea, take a shot, or exercise if it might extend their lives.  

So what did the surgery find?  Nearly 80% of the survey respondents were more likely to choose a daily cup of tea or a pill over exercise to treat their high blood pressure.  This result is interesting because exercise is much less likely to cause side-effects and if you exercise, you will have a much better quality of life as you age.  I would say that the surveyors did not tell participants this piece of information.  I chose exercise over a pill myself because I did not want to experience importance in my 50s.  All blood pressure medications are linked to increasing the risk of impotence.  Exercise is not.  

As a physician, I usually recommend exercise and weight loss as the first options for elevated blood pressure treatment.  If the blood pressure is in stage one or two, I may recommend both a pill and diet and exercise.  Discuss your options with a medical provider, but remember the pills are not without side effects, so you need to weigh your options.  

The bottom line: Patients with high blood pressure prefer a perceived easy button treatment of a pill or injection over exercise.  People weigh the benefits of high blood pressure treatment options against their inconvenience and amount of personal effort.  More research is needed.  


“Study found people would rather pop a pill or sip tea than exercise to treat high blood pressure,” ScienceDaily, 08-Apr-2018. [Online]. Available:–+ScienceDaily%29. [Accessed: 22-Apr-2018]
“Study found people would rather pop a pill or sip tea than exercise to treat high blood pressure,” American Heart Association, 07-Apr-2018. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22-Apr-2018]
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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