Regular exercise has already proven to be a major factor in maintaining excellent health, but a new study suggests that it can also benefit a person’s finances, Tech Times reports.
While the connection might seem skeptical, researchers say that heart disease patients who performed moderate to vigorous exercise for 30 minutes, at least five times a week could save up to $2,500 in yearly healthcare costs.
The researchers studied data of 26,000 people in the USA over 18 years old who participated in a 2012 national survey. Underweight individuals, pregnant women and those unable to walk 10 steps were not included in the study. Around a third of the cardiac disease patients and half of the healthy respondents completed regular exercises.
The study found that patients with cardiac conditions such as heart attack, arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease or stroke spent more money on health care than healthy people, as expected. But heart disease patients who did not do recommended levels of exercise spent around $2,500 more.
In addition, the researchers grouped participants with cardiovascular risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol, based on the number of risk factors they presented. Physically active people who did not have heart disease but with one health risk at most spent $500 less than those who did not do any physical activity.
Khurram Nasir, the director of Baptist Health South Florida’s Center for Healthcare Advancement & Outcomes and the High Risk Cardiovascular Disease Clinic, said,
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 added that if at least 20% of all heart disease patients made it a habit to perform the recommended levels of exercise, the USA could save millions of dollars in healthcare services and costs annually. Exercise is considered the most effective way to lower the risk of any kind of disease.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.