Thursday, April 20, 2006

Physical fitness = Fiscal fitness

This post was sparked by NCN over @ No Credit Needed, when he mentioned that he was starting to train for a 5 K race (3.1 Miles). I do between one and five of those races per year, so I have to preach the physical and fiscal benefits of exercising, eating right and staying healthly now and for the rest of your life. While searching for some type of stats on the cost of being healthy or unhealthy I came upon a recent article from USATODAY on the subject. Some of the most interesting points mentioned...
  • "30 minutes a day most days of the week can substantially reduce the risk of developing some of the most costly and debilitating conditions, including heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, depression, obesity and stroke. Some researchers have also found a link between exercise and a reduced risk of dementia."
  • "For the cost of a walk a day, you might be able to put off or avoid altogether taking blood pressure drugs or cholesterol medications, for which you could spend $50 to $100 or more a month."
  • "Government statistics show the per-capita health care costs for people with diabetes is 2.4 times higher than those without the disease. The cost per person averages more than $13,000 a year."
  • "If you can stave off dementia and live on your own longer, you can avoid the $70,000 or more a year that nursing homes cost."
  • "Take care of yourself, because your portfolio will last longer," says Mark Bass, a financial planner in Lubbock, Texas, who says many of his clients are surprised by how much health care costs can take out of retirement savings. "A lot of folks think they'll be on Medicare and that will be it," he says. "Medicare helps with a lot, but it won't cover everything by a long shot."
  • Fidelity Investments estimates that a couple retiring today will need $200,000 to cover health costs over about a 15-year period, with prescription drugs representing about one-third. The calculation does not include the costs of dental care, long-term care or over-the-counter medicines.
Those are the fiscal stats in the article. The physical...
  • "A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in January showed that people who did even modest amounts of exercise 15 to 30 minutes a day a few times a week reduced their chances of developing dementia by 30% to 40%"
  • "Elevated blood pressure and the risk of heart disease were cut substantially among a group of people who did three hours a week of moderate physical activity, reduced their sodium intake and ate more fruits and vegetables, a study released in that same journal on April 4 showed."
  • "By sustaining the diet and exercise effort and losing a modest amount of weight for 18 months, about 60% of those who had high blood pressure at the beginning of the study had it under control at the end of that time. When compared with a control group, those that followed the diet and exercise guidelines were half as likely to need medication to control their blood pressure."
With diabeties and heart diesease running in my immediate family, I have to be extra cautious on a lot of the major conditions out there. I recently used a "body mass index" calculator to help find my healthy weight, and it looks like I need to lose a few pounds. Put down the donut and go for a walk. Let the pounds you gain be the cash saved on those medical bills...

5 comments:

Fifty Bucks said...

I am SO sick of the CDC and doctors everywhere using the outdated BMI as a measure of whether someone is fat or not. Did you know that BMI charts are based on stats derived from soldiers in the 1940's? We're a little big bigger now on average because of weight lifting.

Just about every guy I know that exercises lifts weights, and that has a huge impact on lean mass. Once you increase lean mass, you can throw BMI out the window.

According to BMI, your average NFL cornerback is overweight. Make sense? No, and it hasn't made sense for 50 years. But the CDC and others will cling to it because, frankly, THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT BODY COMPOSITION.

So to measure if you need to lose weight, check your bodyfat percentage. That's the only objective measure you need.

Tim MMF said...

I agree with Fifty Bucks who belabors his scorn for the BMI. But the points are well taken. It is outdated and basically worthless because it doesn't take into account your body fat percentage and lean body mass which are much, much more important.

Great post on fitness and fiscal health. It was a fun read.

John said...

Those are good points...

ncnblog said...

Hey! Glad I could "inspire a post"! Thanks for the link-love. Grea post. But...

for the financial benefits of being fat INSTEAD of being skinny...
Does having a tough time getting my wallet out of my back pocet b/c my pants are so tight count?

Keep up the great work,
NCN

G. said...

This is a great article. I agree that keeping healthy and staying physically fit have long term benefits for both body and wallet. In fact according to "The Millionaire Mind" many millionaires work out regularly. I've added a link to your site on my blog.