The Cost of Being Inactive by Christina Nowak
In a world where we have an ever increasing demand on our wallets, we often times don’t have a lot of extra money floating around. Debt levels are high in North America and many people are having to work into their late 60s in order to be okay for retirement. With the ebbs and flows of the economy in the last decade, times are tough. So when people are considering what they need to spend their money on, sometimes health related expenses can go to the bottom of the barrel. Gym memberships and personal trainers can seem too expensive to invest in. But it’s time for us to zoom out and consider the long and short of investing in our health.
Life expectancy is going up. Now most people can expect to live into their 80s. Ladies, we still have the upper hand over the men but not by much! We may be living longer but our DISABILITY-FREE years are not increasing at the same speed. What this means is that we may be living longer, but many times we are living with a bunch of chronic, nagging health conditions that effects the ability to live our life.
These conditions have negative effects on our QUALITY of life. Our happiness about the way that our days are spent. Wouldn’t you rather be spending your time with your kids or grandkids, rather than spending your entire day getting from appointment to appointment? Or even worse being in the hospital?
In 2012, Janssen wrote about the cost of being inactive. We know that exercise is good for our health and that the combination of exercise and diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle. But consider this
1 in 5 cases in Canadian men of heart disease are linked to being inactive
39% of cases of type 2 diabetes are linked to physical inactivity…39!
Putting this into dollars and cents, over 4 BILLION dollars of the Canadian healthcare spending is directly linked to physical inactivity.
Because people who don’t exercise get sick more! They have more aches and pains that hold them back. They fall because they have lost the muscle strength they need to keep their balance. They are at risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer … all of these things that we always hope that we never have to endear in our lifetimes.
Spending money on a gym membership may seem like a big expense when money is tight, but the investment over the long term is well worth the cost. If you consider that the average cost of a gym membership is similar to the cost of going out for dinner once a month, it seems like a price you can justify. Have date night in a dance class or yoga studio.
It depends where you place value. Medical bills can get expensive – in the Canadian system, many things are publicly funded but there are components that are not. The American system has more out of pocket expenses that can really add up! Placing value into things that contribute to your health and wellbeing should be a main priority of every person.
What is the value of your time, especially pain- free and illness-free? The value of more years spent with loved ones? More years in your home and able to completely take care of yourself? This is the reality of inactivity. The risk that it places on taking some of that time away. Everything you do has short term and long term consequences. Putting value in your health now allows you to enjoy life the the fullest now and in the future.
This is not a new message. Everyone knows that they “should” exercise. That it is good for us. But consider the costs. Consider the implications it not only has for you but for your family.
Many people realize too late that they need to make a change. When conditions have already creeped up and they are using a cane or walker because they are in too much pain or need surgery for conditions that could have been prevented or improved in the first place.
Health and fitness is a lifestyle. It is something that needs to be placed as a priority over watching the television. Our independence is invaluable. Most of my clients express that that is their BIGGEST goal. To get their legs and bodies back because they have started to fail them. Declines with age can be steep or extremely gradual – it depends on what your choices are.
Have I enticed you to get off the couch yet?
By Christina Nowak