Healthy Living on a Budget

Exercise Saves Seniors Money on Health Care

Adults who increase their physical activity pay hundreds less per year for health care, a new study shows.

Health care costs later in life were significantly lower for adults who maintained moderate or high physical activity levels, according to a new analysis of claims data linked to the National Institutes of Health–American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) Diet and Health Study. The new study, published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, examined various levels of participation in physical activity throughout adulthood and how activity affected Medicare claims. Among the findings: Exercisers with a moderate level of activity had health care costs $1,200 a year lower after age 65 compared with adults who were consistently inactive from adolescence into middle age (moderate exercise involved walking or otherwise being in motion for a few hours most weeks). The health costs of those with a high level of activity were $1,350 lower per year. But even late starters benefited: Waiting until middle age to increase activity still led to cost reductions of $824 per year.

Adults who increased physical activity levels in their twenties experienced the most dramatic reductions in health costs: $1,874 lower per year. Even if some of those exercisers decreased activity during middle age, reducing how often they worked out in their forties and fifties, they still spent about $860 less on health care per year than people who were sedentary for most of their lives.

Participation in physical activity was associated with lower risk for several diseases, including cardio­vascular disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia and several cancers, as well as lower risk of premature death. In the U.S., physical activity levels that don’t meet current guidelines are associated with annual health care expenditures of approximately $117 billion, according to a study published the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.

Most Popular

Don’t Be Tricked Into Voluntarily Paying Higher Taxes on Your IRA
IRAs

Don’t Be Tricked Into Voluntarily Paying Higher Taxes on Your IRA

Traditional IRAs are set up in a way that basically incentivizes you (and your heirs) into paying the highest tax bill possible. Don’t fall for it. Co…
July 4, 2022
Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
The 15 Best Stocks for the Rest of 2022
stocks to buy

The 15 Best Stocks for the Rest of 2022

The lesson of the past two years: Be ready for anything. Our 15 best stocks to buy for the rest of 2022 reflect several possible outcomes for the seco…
June 21, 2022

Recommended

Best Banks for Retirees
banking

Best Banks for Retirees

With these institutions, retirees avoid pesky fees on checks and paper statements and have access to an array of additional wealth and investment serv…
June 23, 2022
7 Standout Places to Retire
Best Places

7 Standout Places to Retire

We picked cities across the U.S. that are affordable and offer the amenities retirees value most. Plus, one of them is bound to be close to family.
June 17, 2022
Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2022 Tax Year
tax law

Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2022 Tax Year

Americans are facing a long list of tax changes for the 2022 tax year. Smart taxpayers will start planning for them now.
June 10, 2022
12 Cheapest Small Towns in America 2022
real estate

12 Cheapest Small Towns in America 2022

Affordable small towns might not be for everyone, but their charms put them among the best places to live for plenty of folks.
May 25, 2022