Just 30 Minutes a Day Could Save You Money Each Year in Healthcare Costs


2016-09-12 15:29

Need a reason to start exercising regularly? Here is one – just about every person can save hundreds to thousands of dollars each year by just taking 30 minutes out of their day for some physical activity.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but many of us can easily improve our risk of developing cardiovascular issues with some simple lifestyle changes – such as eating more healthfully and exercising.

According to the American Heart Association, for each hour of regular exercise, you can gain about 2 hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don’t start until middle age.

Something else you may not think about is the additional money you could be saving each year simply by taking time out for exercise. Per Dr. Khurram Nasir at Baptist Health South Florida, the average adult with heart disease who exercises regularly can save $2500 annually in healthcare costs.

Even healthy people without heart troubles can expect to save about $500 per year by working out regularly!

“Americans suffer 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes each year—a burden that contributes to most of the more than $320 billion in annual healthcare costs and lost productivity caused by cardiovascular disease,” said Barbara Bowman, PhD, director of CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. These costs are expected to triple by the year 2030.

Treatment of cardiovascular disease accounts for $1 out of every $6 spent on healthcare in the US. Direct medical costs that patients can incur after a heart attack include hospital charges, fees for diagnostic tests, and surgical/anesthesia costs. Long-term maintenance is also costly, including drugs, regular tests and doctor appointments. Costs could also come in the form on indirect costs, such as lost time from work.

"The message to the patient is clear: There is no better pill in reducing the risk of disease and health care costs than optimizing physical activity," said Dr. Nasir.

What are recommended levels of exercise? The American Heart Association (AHA) currently advises 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. Moderate exercise includes fast walking, lawn mowing, or heavy cleaning. Vigorous workouts include running or race walking, lap swimming or aerobics.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Heart Association, news release, Sept. 7, 2016

Additional Reference: CDC Foundation

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