Need an excuse to exercise weekly? A new study has found that taking part in regular exercise can help cut annual healthcare costs and a person’s average medical costs. The results of the study showed that heart disease patients who took part in vigorous exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week saved, on average, $2,500 in health care costs annually.
Study author Dr. Khurram Nasir said, “The financial benefits with regular exercise were notable across the entire spectrum of risk including those with and without known cardiovascular disease.”
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five times a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week. Of course, no one will object if you do a combination of both types of activity.
The study included over 2,600 participants, of which 1,896 had heart disease. Among those without heart disease, 49% reported meeting the required amount of exercise every week. In those with a cardiovascular disease, only 32% met the exercise requirements.
Those with heart disease encountered greater healthcare costs, but the patients who exercised regularly saw a reduction in those costs by an average of $2,500.
Participants of the study were also grouped by their cardiovascular risk factors, which included high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and obesity. Among the healthiest participants—those without heart disease or those with only one cardiovascular risk factor—those of who exercised regularly had yearly medical costs $500 lower compared to those who didn’t exercise.
The study suggests that if 20% of heart disease patients partook in regular exercise, the U.S. healthcare system could save billions of dollars each year.
Maybe it’s about time you take your doctor’s advice and start exercising; hopefully, the extra cash in your wallet is enough to entice you to get moving.
“Exercise can help keep medical costs down,” American Heart Association web site, http://newsroom.heart.org/news/exercise-can-help-keep-medical-costs-down, last accessed September 9, 2016.