With many families struggling to keep up with their every increasing medical costs, one step you can take to save money is to simply exercise. Depending on the terms of their health insurance policy and their current lifestyle, you may save over $2000 per year.
Medical expenses continue to be the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in 2016. Harvard University estimates that as many as 62% of bankruptcy filings are the result of unexpected (and costly) health care needs. While the fact is that every family will need to pay an increasing amount of their household budget each and every year for their medical bills, there are ways to save money by exercising and living a slightly healthier lifestyle.
A study completed by Journal of the American Heart Association examined the lifestyle of over 20,000 people. It looked at items such as how much money on their paying for their medical expenses each year, including prescription medications, hospital visits, and all health care needs. The study then looked at their lifestyle, with a focus on how long do they exercise each and every day, their diets, any family conditions such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and much more.
The Heart Association also looked at data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which is a study that looks at every single medical cost paid by the average American. There was a review of data from 2012 to 2016, and this provided researchers more granular information.
The last part of the process will to factor in the amount of exercise (if any) that the panelists did on a daily basis. The federal government indicates that each person should do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days per week. The fact is that the CDC estimates that as many as 80% of Americans do not meet this goal. So the Journal of the American Heart Association wanted to know for those people that did get daily moderate exercise, how much did they save per year?
Total savings by exercising
The number is astounding! While of course each person is different, and the amount of annual savings on medical costs varies, on average consumers reduced their medical expenditures by $2500, with a range of $2000 to $3000 per year. Getting moderate exercise on a daily basis allowed a family to save around $400 on prescription drugs, they saved hundreds of dollars less in health insurance deductibles, and the lower costs accrued to almost every single medical expenses.
We suggest that you think about these savings as an hourly rate of “income”. Exercising for 30 minutes per day, five days per week is equivalent to 2.5 hours per week in total. This equates to around 120 hours per year of “work”. Then if you were to save around $2500 on your annual medical bills, this is equivalent to $20 per hour as a “wage”. That is also a tax free amount. So the actual hourly benefits of exercising 30 minutes per day is equivalent to around $25 per hour in tax free income!
Reducing health care costs is one thing, but there are also many other benefits to exercising. They include feeling better about yourself, living longer, and having more energy. Exercising can also lead to more confidence, as it feels good to hit a goal and transform your body. Then of course confidence can lead to more professional success, both at your job and/or in school.
We strongly recommend, as does the data from the 2016 study from the Journal of the American Heart Association, to exercise a little bit per day. It leads to substantial savings on medical costs, a healthier lifestyle, and in general feeling good about yourself.