Thursday, October 6, 2016

Want To Save $2500 Per Year? Try Exercising!

Some people cite the cost of a gym membership as a deterrent to engaging in regular exercise. Others avoid the gym as it may seem overwhelming or intimidating for those unfamiliar with the equipment or environment. But joining a gym is not the only way to engage in exercise, and regardless of the setting, everyone should be focusing on incorporating regular exercise into their weekly routines. The American Heart Association currently advises engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week, or a combination of the two. Of primary importance to adding exercise are the health benefits: better cardiovascular health, weight management, blood sugar control, and on and on. But it could also be a tool to help save you money year after year.

A new study finds that the average adult with heart disease who exercises regularly can save $2,500 annually in health care costs. Even healthy people without heart troubles can expect to save about $500 per year by working out regularly, the report found. The study tracked 2012 data from more than 26,000 Americans aged 18 and older. Nearly one-third of those with heart disease and half of those without heart disease said they met standard guidelines for weekly moderate-to-vigorous exercise. As expected, those with heart disease did have higher overall healthcare costs, but those who followed the aforementioned AHA exercise recommendations averaged $2500 less than those who did not. Among people with no heart disease and a maximum of just one heart disease risk factor, the average yearly medical costs were about $500 less than for those who didn't exercise.

Aside from the advantages of improving one’s health with the addition of exercise, the big picture takeaway from the study was the health savings costs that could be lessened over the course of a lifetime. Even the high risk group from the study reported a much lower risk of being hospitalized, having an emergency room visit and or having to use more prescription medications. The researchers estimated that if just 20 percent of inactive heart disease patients met exercise goals, it could save the United States several billion dollars a year in health care costs. For the purpose of the study, moderate exercise included activity such as fast walking, lawn mowing, or heavy cleaning. Vigorous workouts included running or race walking, lap swimming or aerobics.

Health and fitness goals may vary from person to person, but the bottom line is clear: regular exercise can benefit not only your overall health, moods and ability to function on a daily basis, but it can offer a big benefit to your wallet and bank account as well.

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