Here’s a staggering statistic: according to the New York Times, “(a) study concluded that inactivity costs the world economy almost $68 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity.” Even worse, although the United States only accounts for less than 5% of the world’s population, they are responsible for 41% of these costs ($28 billion).
Here’s part of the issue - most of us look at broad statistics like this and immediately turn outward. We begin to blame the society we live in and the people around us rather looking in the mirror ourselves. For this reason, a recent study was conducted to predict the relationship between exercise and annual costs per individual. This was done by comparing what people have spent on heath care (medications, emergency room visits, hospitalizations,etc.) and their individual lifestyle habits. The results were as follows:
“On average, someone who met the exercise guidelines paid $2,500 less in annual health care expenses related to heart disease than someone who did not walk or otherwise move for 30 minutes five times per week.”
This “30 minutes 5 times per week,” or 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, is considered the gold standard for physical activity. Exercise also has a dose-response relationship, so the more you can increase in duration, frequency, and/or intensity, the more positive results you will see.
Of course, these results were an association, rather than a true cause and effect. However, there is much truth behind the idea that sedentary people are much more likely to extract certain costly diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more. Not to mention, this is just an average. Worst case scenario, you could potentially be spending you whole life savings on treatments for a preventable disease. So, even if you need to spend money on a personal trainer to hold you accountable to exercise, 9/10 times you will be saving yourself money down the line.
Bottom line? Since something as immaterial and untouchable as ‘health’ cannot always be the motivation, allow yourself to use one of the most sought out factors as motivation to stay healthy: money.
For more information, check out this article:
Stephanie Spoto, CSCS