Here’s how to save a ton of money at the doctor’s office

Here’s how to save a ton of money at the doctor’s office

A groundbreaking new study finds it is actually quite straightforward to slash your healthcare costs ... but you may not like the answer.

If you’re tired of spending huge amounts of money when you go to the doctor, even when you have insurance, there is something you can do about it: exercise. That’s right, a new study has found that routine workouts can lead to significantly lower health costs for patients with heart disease. The study found that patients who conducted moderate to vigorous physical activity for 30 minutes five times per week saved more than $2,500 in annual healthcare costs, according to an American Heart Association statement.

And the benefits aren’t just for those with heart disease. Even those in relatively good health can experience financial benefits with regular exercise. Scientists noticed that this was true for people with very different fitness levels.

The AHA recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise five days per week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous activity three days per week, or a combination of both. Moderate activity is defined as something that causes a light sweat and a boost in heart rate that comes from activities like fast walking, whereas vigorous activity includes running, swimming and other aerobics.

Unfortunately, about two thirds of heart disease patients are failing to get this amount of exercise, scientists found. So if you want to save a lot of money on healthcare costs, the answer is usually the straightforwad one: in this case, doing what you know you need to do and getting on that treadmill.

“The new study examined data from a 2012 national survey sample of more than 26,000 Americans age 18 or older, excluding people who were underweight, pregnant, or unable to walk up to 10 steps,” the statement reads. “Nearly half the participants who did not have cardiovascular disease, and almost one-third who did, reported meeting exercise guidelines for weekly moderate-to-vigorous activity.

“People in the study who already had cardiovascular disease — specifically coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, arrhythmias or peripheral artery disease — had higher healthcare costs,” it adds. “But those patients who regularly exercised at recommended levels logged average healthcare costs more than $2,500 lower than those who didn’t meet exercise guidelines.”

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