With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, health insurers can no longer deny coverage or increase rates based upon pre-existing medical conditions. While the overall costs of health care will go down, you'll still have to pay some health care costs out of pocket. A good diet and regular exercise can reduce your risk of falling prey to the common conditions that drive up the costs of health care.
Better Cardiovascular Health
Both diet and exercise can affect your cardiovascular health. A high-fat diet can result in obesity, high cholesterol, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes and other costly maladies. Regular exercise improves your heart's health and can lower blood pressure and cholesterol over time. Those with chronic heart problems can also benefit from exercise. A 2013 study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology found that regular physical exercise can improve symptoms in patients with atrial fibrillation. If your heart health improves, you'll likely avoid spending money on cardiologists, heart medications and regular heart checkups.
Reduced Risk of Chronic Illnesses
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular exercise can reduce your risk of diabetes, osteoarthritis and obesity. The CDC reports that obesity alone costs $147 billion a year. Diabetes, a common result of obesity, often necessitates medication, regular checkups, massive diet changes and even surgery. Obesity puts you at risk of a wide variety of costly conditions. By exercising regularly and eating a healthful diet, you can significantly decrease your health care costs and avoid being a part of the group who drives up the overall cost of health care.
Improved Emotional Well-Being
According to the CDC, regular exercise can reduce the risk of depression and improve sleep quality. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, mental illness costs $34 billion each year in health care costs, in workplace inefficiency and other costs. By reducing your susceptibility to mental health problems, you will save money on the costs associated with those problems, like therapy and medication. You'll also likely be more productive and more content with your life.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a high-fat diet increases the risk of cancer. A diet rich in vegetables and whole grains lowers the risk of cancer. Similarly, the CDC reports that regular exercise can decrease the risk of some cancers, such as lung and endometrial cancers. A healthful diet and regular exercise can help reduce your risk of cancer and save you the exorbitant costs and hardships associated with a cancer diagnosis, such as chemotherapy, regular hospital visits, surgery, prescription drugs and palliative care.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What Causes Overweight and Obesity?
- Canadian Journal of Cardiology: A Systematic Review of the Health Benefits of Exercise Rehabilitation in Persons Living With Atrial Fibrillation
- UCLA Health: How Nutrition and Exercise Can Increase Productivity and Lower Health Care Costs
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Foods for Preventing Cancer
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: The Impact and Cost of Mental Illness -- The Case of Depression
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The Benefits of Physical Activity