For those pushing exercise to the side, there may be a good reason to rethink giving the gym another chance.
According to a new report, you could save up to $2,500 a year in healthcare costs by exercising each week.
The report, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, examined data from a 2012 survey of some 26,000 Americans and found that those who exercised regularly saved big on medical expenses compared to those who did not meet activity guidelines.
Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of a slew of health problems, ranging from heart disease to stroke and diabetes, Khurram Nasir, the study's senior author and director the Center for Healthcare Advancement & Outcomes at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables, said in a statement.
The study emphasizes the “favorable impact [exercise has] on how much you pay for healthcare,” Nasir said.
Those with a history of cardiovascular disease who regularly exercised at recommended levels save the most –- up to $2500 compared to those in the same group who did not exercise.
People who exercised regularly and had no more than one risk factor still shaved $500 off their medical bills compared to similar individuals who did not exercise.
“Even among an established high-risk group such as those diagnosed with heart disease or stroke, those who engaged in regular exercise activities reported a much lower risk of being hospitalized, [having] an emergency room visit and use of prescription medications,” Nasir said.
The researchers concluded that if 20% of patients with cardiovascular disease started exercising at recommended levels, the nation could save billions in healthcare costs each year.
Ready to get started?
Here are a few American Heart Association exercise recommendations:
- At least 30 minutes of “moderate-intensity” aerobic activity, or anything that causes a light sweat, five days a week.
- Can’t swing five days a week? Vigorous activity like running, swimming or walking quickly, for three days a week works.