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Exercise keeps medical costs down

man jogging If you’re trying to save money, try going for a jog. No, really! A recent study suggests that getting recommended amounts of exercise may significantly reduce annual medical costs for adults.

Participants with heart disease who met the American Heart Association’s (AHA) weekly exercise guidelines saved, on average, $2,500 a year compared with those who didn’t exercise at the recommended levels. Even the healthiest participants — those currently without heart disease and with just one risk factor for it — who exercised regularly spent about $500 less in medical costs than those who didn’t.

In fact, researchers suggest that if only 20 percent of people with heart disease who don’t currently exercise started a routine that met the guidelines, the nation could save billions of dollars on health care costs annually.

To start saving and getting fit, the AHA recommends the following exercise guidelines:

  • Get 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least five days a week. Aerobic activity increases your breathing and heart rate. Some ideas include walking, jogging, swimming and biking.

OR

  • Get 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days a week. Increase the intensity of your aerobic activity, such as running or taking aerobics classes.

AND

  • For additional health benefits, try moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. Strengthen your muscles with simple weight bearing activities, such as using free weights or even your own body. Muscle training increases your metabolic rate, which means your body burns even more calories while resting.