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Health and Fitness: Exercising will actually save you money down the line

Health and Fitness by Mollee Tscholl

Mollee Tscholl

 

One of the more popular reasons we hear of for people not going to a health club is that they can’t afford it. And while I completely understand this because most of us are on a budget, I also think in many cases, it more accurately comes down to priorities.

How are we going to spend our time? Where are we going to invest our money? What is most valuable to us? Human nature has proven prone to recognizing something’s value or worth, only after there has become a real danger of losing it. Our health tends to be one of those things. We roll the dice and take a chance that it will always be there.  And in so doing, we spend our time and money on more pressing or current matters.

But what if we shifted our thinking? What if we began to look at prioritizing our health as a means of actually saving ourselves money over time? My philosophy has always been, if you don’t spend money on taking care of yourself now, you will likely spend it, and even more, on doctor bills and hospital stays later on in your life. I know that’s not foolproof, and even healthy people get sick, but research is on my side.

A 2016 study published in the Journal of The American Heart Association surveyed 26,000 Americans over the age of 18 and found that people who said they met the criteria for moderate to vigorous exercise on a weekly basis paid less in medical expenses annually than those who didn’t. Of those surveyed, those who had a history of cardiovascular disease saw the largest savings, decreasing their expenses by $2,500 annually. However, even those with no preexisting conditions saw a savings of $500 annually. As a whole, researchers concluded that if even 20% of sedentary cardiovascular disease patients starting exercising regularly, the United States would be able to save billions in medical costs every year.

Today, we have many members at SNAP Fitness who are on insurance plans that reward them for going to their health club a certain number of times per month. I also know of companies that offer incentives to their employees for time spent in the gym. If you haven’t, check with your insurance company or employer to see if they offer some sort of savings plan to you for time spent in the gym. And the next time you are budgeting for the month, consider what it would cost to add in a gym membership; the return on investment might surprise you.

 

Mollee Tscholl is co-owner of Albert Lea’s SNAP Fitness and TMJ Elite Fitness.