What is Regular Exercise Worth for Heart Disease Patients?

exercise benefits heart disease patientsAn average of $2,500 per year in healthcare costs. Not only is exercise beneficial to your health, it may also be good for your wallet.

This is according to a recent study that examined the economic impact of regular exercise on people with and without heart disease. The study included 26,239 participants of whom 9% (1,896) had heart disease. Heart disease included coronary heart disease, stroke, arrhythmia, heart failure, or peripheral artery disease.

Physical activity was measured according to American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. The AHA recommends that all adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, which is 30 minutes a day. Moderate exercise was defined as causing a light sweat or a slight increase in breathing or heart rate. Participants who reported that they met this goal were classified as engaging in optimal physical activity. Those who did not were classified as inactive.

This study found that participants who exercised 150 minutes per week spent an average of $2,500 less per year than those who did not. Exercise decreased healthcare costs of all participants—with and without heart disease. People who did not exercise spent more money on prescription drugs, doctor visits and hospitalizations.

The study concluded that engaging in exercise reduced healthcare costs for all participants, whether or not they were diagnosed with heart disease. The authors estimated if 20% of people with heart disease modified their lifestyle to include 30 minutes of exercise per day, the US government would save billions of dollars in health care costs.

Here are some tips to increase your physical activity and reduce your healthcare costs:

  • Start exercising gradually
  • Increase the duration and intensity of exercise slowly over a period of weeks and months
  • Create a regular exercise routine
  • Exercise with others to make yourself more accountable and exercise enjoyable
  • Encourage yourself to walk more by parking further away from your destination
  • Meet friends and family to walk and talk
  • Exercise includes household chores such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and heavy cleaning around the house

Physical activity can be felt in your pocketbook. Get up and move—your heart and your wallet will thank you! Consult your doctor or healthcare provider about a personal exercise program that is right for you.

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