Although you may grumble a little about the cost of your gym membership, or how much those new running shoes just cost, you might be surprised that not exercising may cost you a lot more. And that's not just our opinion, scientists, researchers and even financial experts agree.
Just how can not exercising cost you money? Allow us to explain.
No Exercise Equals Higher Health Care Costs
A number of studies over the last few years have shown rather conclusively that those who do not follow a regular exercise program – and it does not have to be any special one – incur higher healthcare costs than those that do, almost across the board.
This is because, as many of these studies were able to prove, those who do not exercise spend more time at the doctor's office, have a higher incidence of hospital admissions, higher prescription medication costs and lose more income thanks to illness related absences from work.
Physical Health Isn't the Only Problem
Additional studies have also shown that those who do not exercise have more mental health issues than those who do. Exercise is a proven stress buster but it has also been shown to be helpful for those suffering from diagnosed clinical depression and other mental illnesses.
If you are someone who really doesn't like wasting money – and let's face it, that applies to most of us – then that means, essentially, that exercise is a must to avoid doing so (apart from being essential for good health in general) Those who don't exercise on a regular basis can however usually offer what they believe is a good excuse for not doing so. But let's have a closer look at some of the most common of them to see how valid they really are.
"I don't have time to exercise"
This is probably the most used excuse to skip exercise of all. And it's true, we all lead very busy lives. Aside from work commitments we have children who need to be cared for, social obligations to meet, houses to clean and more. But you don't need to exercise for hours at a time for the benefits to kick in. More research has shown that as little as 15-20 minutes of general exercise a day can reap huge benefits in terms of both your health in general and the amount of money poor health costs you.
“I can't afford to exercise"
You don't need to pay for a gym membership to get the exercise you need. Walking is a great form of exercise and everyone has some outdoor space to do that in. A walk around the park, or just up and down the street around the office at lunchtime will probably take 15 minutes and there's that daily exercise you need right there.
"Exercise is too boring"
We are not going to deny it; exercise can be boring if you do the same thing all the time. An hour on the treadmill every time you go to the gym is no doubt going to become decidedly unexciting. That's why you need to mix things up.
Take a long walk one day and then go swimming the next. Take a Zumba class, as that is more like being at a nightclub and getting your dance on than being at the gym. Gather the kids for a lively game of football in the garden on another day and take your dog for the longer walk he'd love the next. Exercise does not have to be boring, you just need to use a little imagination to make it interesting.
In the end it's all too easy to skip daily exercise. But maybe the fact that you now know that doing so is costing you money as well as good health may just be the extra motivation you need to get moving more often.