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Doctors: How Staying Fit Saves You Money?

Discussion in 'Physical and Sports Medicine' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, Jul 18, 2021.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

    Mar 5, 2019
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    It may be fair to say few people enjoy exercising. It’s difficult, tedious, and, more often than not, time-consuming. However, in addition to providing numerous health benefits, exercising and staying fit can lower future healthcare costs.


    Thanks to new research, we now know precisely how much.

    According to the new study, published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, those who are more physically active can save thousands as they age. The researchers found that adults who maintained moderate amounts of physical activity saved $1,350 annually on healthcare spending. By comparison, individuals with high levels of physical activity saved $1,200 per year on healthcare costs. This disparity may be attributable to the fact that overexertion can often cause adverse health effects, which might result in further medical expenses.

    It may be difficult to set aside time to work out, but the BMJ study concludes that the sooner you start, the more you can save in the long run. The researchers found that those who had increased physical activity levels earlier in their young adulthood saved $1,874 per year on healthcare spending.

    These findings were echoed in a 2010 British Journal of Sports Medicine study, which focused on a group of 24,000 Canadians, aged 65 years or older. Among the participants, physical activity was linked to less healthcare usage and lower healthcare costs.

    The correlation between exercising and saving on healthcare relates to the benefits of staying active. Adults who maintain or increase their exercise activities have less chronic disease and longer lifespans, according to the researchers. That means fewer doctor visits, trips to the emergency department, or time under the knife.

    Physical inactivity can cause or aggravate serious health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, which could cost a cumulative fortune to manage. For example, the American Diabetes Association estimates that those with diabetes incur an average of $16,752 annually in disease-management expenses. Furthermore, a Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases study found that 11% of aggregate healthcare expenditures–to the tune of $117 billion–can be linked to inadequate physical activity.

    Unfortunately, a medical career leaves little time or energy for the gym-rat lifestyle. The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours on a treadmill to see benefits.

    What to do

    Erika Meling is a certified personal trainer and owner of Best Home Training. According to Meling, there are many reasons (in addition to financial) why physicians should fit exercise into their daily schedules.

    “Exercise can help improve your mental health and mood, maintain your weight, manage blood sugar levels, reduce risks of heart disease, keep your mind sharp and help you think clearly, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your sleep quality,” she said.

    After a day donning the white coat, we know it can be difficult to change into gym clothes. However, Meling points out how easily you can fit small sets of exercises into your schedule.

    “I believe there’s always time to sneak in exercise,” Meling said. “I suggest for those who have desk jobs to get out of their chair every hour to do a few body weight exercises (squats, lunges, jumping jacks) to get your heart rate up. Waking up early to get in a run or walk before breakfast is very beneficial to set the right mood for the day ahead.”

    You might be thinking: I’ve never lifted a weight or jogged a mile in my life. It’s too late for me. Research shows that’s just not true. If you start now, you can still save $800 annually in medical expenses, according to the BMJ study.

    “For people of an older age, it is very important to take care of themselves physically,” Meling said. “It will help them maintain or lose weight (depending on their goals), improve their immune systems, reduce blood pressure, improve bone density, and lower risks of diseases such as Alzheimer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Exercise for the older population will also help to improve balance, stability, and flexibility.”

    The priority is avoiding inactivity, which becomes increasingly common as we age. For example, a CDC report found that more than 27% of adults over the age of 50 reported no physical activity outside of work during the past month.

    “We are always in a state of decline as we age,” said Mike Campbell, a certified personal trainer and owner of Mike Campbell’s Personal Fitness Training. “Regular, consistent exercise can sometimes turn back the clock to a degree, or at least stall it.”

    Starting small, saving big

    You don’t have to do much to stay healthy and save. Walking or home-based workouts, such as these, can pay off over time.

    “I recommend people look into exercising at home, and perhaps invest in some high quality fitness equipment,” Campbell said. “The amount of time it takes to get ready, drive to the gym, work out, drive home, and then get ready for work, seems to be impossible for anyone on a tight schedule. It is much easier to roll out of bed, go exercise, take a shower, and then leave for work. Some may find that a fast-paced walk at lunchtime is another way to get exercise in, without it extending their day.”

    If you want to build a home gym, Campbell recommends the following pieces of equipment:

    • A cable system, such as a Cybex Bravo or Hoist Mi-5.
    • A set of adjustable dumbbells, such as PowerBlock or NuoBells
    • An adjustable bench, such as the Hoist 5165
    • A 65cm stability ball
    • A piece of cardio equipment, such as a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or rower
    • Physical activity levels have been linked to how much you spend on healthcare costs later in life.
    • People who work out more end up saving thousands per year on doctor bills.
    • To save more money in the future, start working out as soon and as often as you can.
    • You can fit small exercise routines into your schedule whenever you have the time, including exercises in your home or office, or going for a walk.
    • Putting together your own gym is an easy way to work out when you have the time, right from your own home.

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