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.