EXERCISE SAVES SENIORS MONEY ON HEALTH CARE
Health care costs later in life were significantly lower for adults who maintained moderate or high physical activity levels, according to a new analysis of claims data linked to the National Institutes of Health–American Association of Retired Persons (NIHAARP) Diet and Health Study. The new study, published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, examined various levels of participation in physical activity through out adulthood and how activity affected Medicare claims. Among the find ings: Exercisers with a moderate level of activity had health care costs $1,200 a year lower after age 65 compared with adults who were consistently inactive from adolescence into middle age (moderate exercise involved walking or other wise being in motion for a few hours most weeks). The health costs of those with a high level of activity were $1,350 lower per year. But even late starters benefited: Waiting until middle age to increase activity still led to cost reductions of $824 per year.
Adults who increased physical activity levels in their twenties experienced the most dramatic reductions in health costs: $1,874 lower per year. Even if some of those exercisers decreased activity during middle age, reducing how often they worked out in their forties and fifties, they still spent about $860 less on health care per year than people who were sedentary for most of their lives.
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