Do your bank account and your heart a big favor and go out for a run, take a brisk walk, ride a bicycle or do some calisthenics. According to details revealed in a recent story in The New York Times, regular exercise is so important that walking at least 30 minutes a day (for just five days a week) will save you roughly $2,500 a year in medical costs related to heart disease. And, a lack of regular exercise is nearly as bad as smoking.
It’s clear that physical inactivity can be expensive. That story in The New York Times also revealed that a lack of regular exercise also negatively impacts your life expectancy, your memory and your ability to learn.
The financial savings to be gained from regular exercise are in line with PHIT America’s efforts to get Congress to pass the PHIT Act, which will give consumers the option of using funds in their pre-tax medical accounts to pay for expenses related to sports, fitness and other physical activities. In other words, the PHIT Act will allow families and individuals to use these pre-tax savings for youth sports fees, health club dues, race registrations, purchase of sports and fitness equipment and more.
PHIT America and the membership of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) will be gathering in Washington, D.C. next week – specifically on March 22 -- for National Health Through Fitness Day, where the focal point of this day of advocacy will be getting Congress to pass the PHIT Act this year. Those interested in supporting the pro-PHIT Act lobbying effort can register their support of the legislation by accessing PASSThePHITAct.org.
The results of a long-term Swedish study of middle age males indicate that people who are physically inactive and out of shape are 42 percent more likely to die prematurely.
Besides adding to the quality of your life, regular exercise sessions help improve your chances of your life being negatively impacted by depression, muscle wasting, the common cold, and as many as 13 types of cancer.
“It’s quite clear that the quality and quantity of your life is directly influenced by your willingness to break a sweat,” says Jim Baugh, Founder, PHIT America. “PHIT America is focused on getting all Americans physically active, as two-thirds of American children are not active to healthy standards and 28 percent of all Americans are physically inactive.”
The following members of the U.S. medical community agree with the theme of The New York Times story. They are also members of Doctors for PHIT America, all of whom believe that physical activity is the best prescription for total health.
“Exercise is the greatest medicine that we have,” says Dr. Darrin Bright, Director, OhioHealth Runner’s Clinic. “I believe exercise can change your life one step at a time.”
“Regular physical activity is one of the most important things a person can do to remain healthy,” says Dr. Liz Joy, Adjunct Professor, Family & Preventive Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine. “The risk of doing nothing far exceeds any risk associated with a brisk walk!”
“We must put more emphasis on reducing the chance of sickness and health care issues by emphasizing exercise for all Americans. Physical activity is a powerful form of prevention and should become a major national priority,” Dr. Carrie Jaworski, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.