Fitness Spending Improves Health...Saves Money
Please read Sequoia Health's February 1st Newsletter
to read the article on Sequoia Health's website, or just scroll down and read how spending money on fitness actually saves you money while it improves your health.
Fitness Spending Improves Health...Saves Money
Budget-minded families are looking to cut expenses that seem like a luxury, or even just frivolous -- including gym memberships. Yet mounting evidence suggests that cutting out the gym may be exactly the wrong move for even the most cash-strapped family.
In its just-released report of annual health spending figures, published in the Journal of Health Affairs, the federal government confirmed that chronic illness accounts for 75 percent of all health spending. Yet exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce your risks for chronic illness and your medical bills.
"To put that in financial terms, for every dollar you spend on wellness, you can save as much as five dollars or more on illness," says Dr. Richard Kreider, director of the exercise and sport nutrition laboratory at Texas A&M University. He has studied the effectiveness of the Curves women's fitness program for the past five years.
To put that in financial terms, for every dollar you spend on wellness, you can save as much as five dollars or more on illness
"The women in our studies have been able to lose weight, gain muscle
strength, raise metabolism, and make significant medical improvements in
blood pressure, resting heart rate and aerobic fitness," Kreider says.
"Many of them no longer suffer from the chronic conditions that cost them
so much money for medications and doctor visits."
This can add up to a bundle of savings. The Health Affairs report shows
that the average annual out-of-pocket expense for someone with cancer is
$8,411, but the good news is that regular exercise can help you avoid the
disease and the costs associated with it. A major report by the American
Institute for Cancer Research published in 2007 found that obesity plays a
key role in increasing the risk for many cancers -- including breast cancer
-- by as much as 60 percent. And a study just published in the journal
Cancer found that obesity increased women's risk for ovarian cancer by a
whopping 80 percent.
The benefits go beyond reducing the risk of cancer. A recent landmark
study by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota found that people who went to
the gym at least eight times a month had significantly lower health care
costs than those who did not.
These frequent gym attendees had:
* 39 percent fewer emergency room visits
* 41 percent fewer hospital admissions
* 18 percent lower overall claims costs
The research, then, is clear. "Exercising regularly and maintaining a
healthy weight can save not only your life, but your money as well," says
Kreider. "Your health is your most precious asset, and not taking care of
it is going to cost you more in the long run."
We would like to thank the Thomason Times of Thomason, GA for this
Get The Skinny on Losing the Fat
Making Better Health Easier
Lou Schuler, of Men's Health, has come up with a good summary of some of
the latest scientific information on healthy weight loss in his article "Get the Skinny on Fat". His suggestions will help you work with rather than against your body's natural mechanisms.
He proposes the following "First, I want to show that when you eat has a
profound effect on how your body deals with the calories you feed it. And I
want to present a more sophisticated approach to exercise. This approach
not only preserves your body's metabolism, the key to weight control, but
also makes more productive use of your precious time and energy."
Here Are Some of Lou's Key Points:
1. Eating more frequently with smaller meals and snacks is the best
strategy for good health and maintaining a healthy weight. Going without
food all day then feasting raises blood glucose levels. It forces your body
to release excess insulin promoting the storage rather than burning of calories. Maintaining an even calorie balance throughout the entire day provides improved energy levels, increased physical and mental performance and reduced weight gain.
2. Add protein to all of your meals and snacks. This keeps them balanced
and in the low glycemic range. Protein sources can come from nuts, cheese,
beans, chicken, eggs, beef, fish or pork. Too much protein is not a good
thing either because it tends to cause loss of fluid and dehydration.
3. Eat to lose weight. It is called the "thermal effect of feeding" and
it's very important to maintaining a healthy weight. Not eating places your
body in the "starvation cycle" and promotes fat storage when you do eat.
Food is required for healthy weight loss. Too little food and you end up
losing muscles not fat which is a bad thing.
4. Never exercise on an empty stomach because it depletes the energy
stored in your muscles (glycogen). You run the risk of poor performance and
tiring out before the end of your activity. Eating a low glycemic meal or
snack before you exercise and a high glycemic meal or snack after keeps
your muscles well fed while actually promoting fat and not muscle loss.
5. Strength training increases your resting metabolic rate (RMR) more than aerobic exercise does because of the muscle repair mechanism. A high RMR allows you to burn more calories up to 48 hours after your workout even when you are doing nothing. Aerobic activity is good for your heart and lungs but is less efficient in raising your RMR and reducing excess bodyfat.
6. A hard workout for 30 to 60 minutes seems to provide the best increase
in metabolic rate over the next 24 to 48 hours compared to a low intensity
workout of the same duration. Intensity in your workouts is important but
so is safety. To keep it safe, make sure that you don't make it so hard
that you exceed your conditioning level.
7. Combine strength and interval cardiovascular training for the best and most efficient workout. Studies show that integrating strength and cardiovascular training gives you the biggest bang for the buck and maybe the best overall exercise solution available. Combination training is also more time efficient allowing you to gain strength and aerobic benefits in less time spent. Don't forget to work on your balance and reduce the amount of time you sit in your workouts by doing free squats and lunges instead of
the leg press and curl machines that have you sitting or lying down.
And finally, "I wish I could conclude this by telling you that weight loss
is fast and easy, rather than slow and strenuous. But the exciting news is
that science has found a straighter path to steady, successful weight
Staying active and physically fit is the best way to avoid chronic illnesses like
heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, osteoporosis and depression. Commit to
Getting Active, Eating Healthier and Reducing Stress while living a healthier
lifestyle. At any age, Fresh Start provides the education, motivation and accountability necessary to improve your health while helping you feel and look your best.
For a free Fresh Start consultation, please call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171
or email to Woody@SequoiaHealth.com.