Exercising regularly helps not only in staying physically fit but also makes a person financially strong, reports a new study.
Of course, the connection between exercise and money sounds bizarre but, yes, that is at least what the experts are trying to convey. According to a recent study, heart disease patients that performed moderate to vigorous exercise for about 30 minutes at least five times a week saved up to $2,500 in healthcare costs annually.
For the purpose of the study, the researchers reviewed data involving 26,000 Americans aged over 18 years that participated in 2012 national survey. Pregnant women, underweight people and individuals who are unable to walk up to 10 steps were excluded from the study. About one-third of the heart disease patients and half the number of healthy participants involved in the study were performing recommended levels of exercise regularly.
As expected, people with cardiac problems like heart attack, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias or peripheral artery disease and stroke spent more on healthcare than healthy individuals. However, heart disease patients who did not perform the recommended levels of physical activity spent over $2,500 more than their active counterparts, a year.
The participants with cardiovascular risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol levels and smoking were then segregated into different groups based on the number of risk of factors present. It was observed that physically active people without heart disease but with at most one health risk spent about $500 lesser than their inactive counterparts, annually.
"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," said Khurram Nasir, the director of the Center for Healthcare Advancement & Outcomes and the High Risk Cardiovascular Disease Clinic at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables.
According to Nasir if at least 20 percent of heart disease patients develop the habit of performing the recommended levels of physical activity for their own good, the country could save tens of millions of dollars spent on healthcare services every year. No medication is as effective in lowering the risk of disease and cutting down the medical expense as regular workout.
A minimum of 30-minute moderate physical activity five days a week or 25 minutes intense aerobic activity three days a week or combination of both is recommended by American Heart Association for good cardiac health.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association on Sept. 7.
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