When it comes to encouraging good health, it's hard to beat exercise. Hundreds of health benefits are associated with physical activity, ranging from weight loss to mood support. Even if you are eating a 100% organic, raw vegan diet, without exercise you're missing an integral piece of the puzzle. A recent study presented at the American Physiological Society Conference is suggesting that vitamin C could promote similar heart effects as seen with exercise. 
Is Vitamin C as Effective as Exercise?
Well, not quite. Researchers showed that while vitamin C could produce cardiovascular benefits similar to what's observed during and after exercise, it doesn't offer the same metabolism-boosting, mind-supporting, and immune-boosting benefits that physical activity provides. Yes, vitamin C may produce these effects to some degree, but it's exercise that shows a more noticeable shift toward these benefits. In fact, the combination of exercise plus a healthy diet maximizes the positive health effects.
Since this study merely looked at a single marker responsible for vascular health in obese people, it doesn't show the wide-ranging metabolic benefits associated with vitamin C supplementation. Therefore, it's highly unlikely that vitamin C can produce substantial weight loss benefits as seen in exercise, nor should vitamin C be seen as a substitute for physical activity. Researchers also didn't examine the effects of vitamin C on blood pressure or cholesterol, two things that are naturally regulated by exercise.  Vitamin supplementation is a great insurance plan for your health but should never be seen as a replacement for anything a healthy diet and exercise routine can provide.
Other Ways to Promote Heart Health
All exercise that increases your heart rate is going to benefit heart health, but walking, sprinting, and yoga are excellent heart-strengthening exercises you can enjoy regardless of your fitness level. Stress reduction is another "exercise" that you should practice daily in order to reap benefits for heart health. Since stress impacts the heart dramatically, it's important to practice meditation or other stress-management technique. Get plenty of sleep and are sun exposure to get your fill of vitamin D. If you can't get outside, a vitamin D supplement like Suntrex® D3 can help you stay healthy and fill the gaps in your nutritional requirements.
What are your thoughts about using supplements as a replacement for exercise and/or a healthy lifestyle? Give us your two cents in the comments.
- American Physiological Society. Vitamin C: The Exercise Replacement? The American Physiological Society Press Release.
- Fagard RH, Cornelissen VA. Effect of exercise on blood pressure control in hypertensive patients. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2007 Feb;14(1):12-7.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.