The Real Cost of Not Exercising

Posted: 4th April 2013 by Get Fit Stay Fit in Uncategorized

Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday 2 April 2013

FROM: The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals

Those of us without bottomless budgets have noticed the cost of living is increasing. When the budget comes under scrutiny, it is often our recreation and fitness costs and memberships, that face being cut along with other ‘non essential’ items.

However the cost of your gym membership, or personal training is likely to be much cheaper than the cost of not exercising. New Zealand, along with the rest of the world is facing a dramatic increase in medical and health costs due to lifestyle factors and inactivity. The cost of inactivity alone was 1.3 billion dollars in 2010, according to a recent report commissioned by a group of our country’s local councils. Inactivity and other lifestyle factors create a serious financial burden, and we aren’t just talking the odd sick day. While the government is currently picking up the tab in many cases, when it comes to serious illness and disease, we all pay in the end through taxes and other related costs.

A Growing Problem

The increase in the waistlines of New Zealanders has lead to an increase in health related illnesses. The 2008/09
New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey found that one in three adults were overweight (37.0%), and one in four were
obese (27.8%). With a population of 4.4 million, over 1,000,000 New Zealanders can be classified as obese.
The cost of obesity is to often linked with other serious health issues including type 2 diabetes, ischaemic heart
disease (IHD), stroke, several common cancers, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and reproductive abnormalities which
lead to loss of income, and potentially stretch the New Zealand health dollar to breaking point.

The ‘Heart of the Matter’

Behavioural risk factors (including unhealthy diet and physical inactivity) are responsible for about 80% of coronary
heart disease worldwide. It’s a simple fact that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major risk factors to heart
disease; a risk factor that is easily controlled through moderate regular exercise.

A recent research study from Liverpool’s John Moores University found that exercise not only helps prevent heart
disease, but also may actually repair heart tissue already damaged. The research reported in the European Heart
Journal showed that regular and strenuous (enough to make you sweat) exercise may lead to the development of
new heart muscle. The researchers suggest that damage from heart disease or failure, could be at least partially
repaired through 30 minutes of running or cycling a day, at enough intensity to work up a sweat.

Worth thinking about, according to the Mental Health Foundation, there is increasing evidence linking physical activity and improving mental health. At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, on most days of the week, can improve mood and decrease anxiety and stress. Physical activity is also known to have a role in preventing serious mental illness such as depression. It is those feel good chemical endorphins that hold some of the benefits for mood and mental health. They are the body’s natural painkillers, and are responsible for that positive feeling experienced after physical activity. The cost of depression is both personal and financial. People with major depression take more time off work, report more work performance limitations, make greater use of health services, and report poorer health-related quality of life.

The solution is simple! – Either we open our wallets for increased government intervention of lifestyle diseases caused by inactivity,OR we can open up the front door, and get out there and exercise.

Examples of the cost to repair the damage caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and inactivity:

  • Coronary artery bypass graft (re-channel blood flow to the heart) – $38,000 to $57,000
  • Cardiac angiogram (diagnostic test for suspected heart disease) – $3,800 to $4,800
  • Gastric bypass (a common weight loss procedure) – $17,000 to $35,000
  • Total hip replacement – $19,000 to $25,000

Sources and Links:

Enhanced by Zemanta