What Your Workout Is Worth

Exercise for heart disease patients may reduce health care costs

(RxWiki News) Getting your workouts in may mean health care savings, according to a new study.

This study, recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, evaluated a national survey sample of more than 26,000 individuals in the United States. 

Not only did regular, moderate exercise appear to reduce the risk for several health conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure, it may affect how much patients pay for health care, the authors of this study noted. 

Those with a cardiovascular condition who exercised (at recommended levels) reported paying $2,500 less in health care costs per year on average than those who did not exercise. 

Those who exercised regularly reported a lower risk of being admitted to the hospital, visiting an emergency room or taking prescription medications, these researchers noted.  

Furthermore, those who did not have heart disease, had at most one cardiovascular risk factor and exercised regularly paid on average $500 less for medical costs than those who did not exercise. 

“The message to the patient is clear: There is no better pill in reducing the risk of disease and health care costs than optimizing physical activity,” said lead study author Dr. Khurram Nasir, of Baptist Health South Florida, in a press release.

The American Heart Association recommends engaging in at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week or at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week. Combining the two types of exercise is also an option, according to the association. 

Before starting an exercise program, speak with your doctor. Your doctor will recommend the best and safest exercise program for you. 

Baptist Health South Florida funded this research. Dr. Nasir served on the advisory board for Quest Diagnostic and consulted for Regeneron.