“I’m too busy to workout” and “I can’t afford a gym membership” are two of the many excuses people often use to avoid exercising. It’s totally understandable why some people shy away from exercise. Having to juggle family, household, or work responsibilities can be exhausting enough without adding physical activity into the mix. Plus, not having the extra cash to spend on a fancy gym membership or exercise equipment can make fitness seem like a daunting prospect. However, there are definitely ways to overcome these issues -- and if you don’t start making the effort, you’re probably at higher risk for a host of health problems in the long run. A recent study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology has found that if you replace just 30 minutes of sitting with an equivalent amount of light activity, you reduce your risk of early mortality by 17 percent. By walking short distances instead of driving, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator you can already make a large impact on your health. If you’re up to the challenge, exercising at an even higher intensity reduces your risk for early death by 35 percent. It’s as easy as doing jumping jacks while watching your favorite TV show. The good news is that the 30 minutes doesn’t have to be completed all at once -- even performing a one-minute burst of activity here and there already makes a world of difference. Here’s some bad news: new research by Dr. Wael Jaber a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, shows that "Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker.” According to him, the risks that come with being unfit are so severe that "It should be treated almost as a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise.” If that doesn’t scare you enough, maybe these figures will: Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are currently the most expensive diseases in the United States, with more than a staggering $200 billion being spent yearly treating affected patients and the complications that stem from them. The good news is that cardiovascular disease is reversible. Running, walking, and exercising are all good ways to change your sedentary lifestyle. Furthermore, they found that the benefits of exercise were highly pronounced in people of all age groups and genders, and marginally more evident in females.
If you do come down with fitness-related health problems, it may be more difficult than you think to receive prompt and affordable medical care. Having to wait for hours at your local clinic to see a doctor will ultimately cost more money and time in the long run, especially with the projected shortage of 46,900 to 121,900 health physicians by 2032, as confirmed in a study the Association of American Medical Colleges. This fact is also confirmed by research from Maryville University that reveals there is an impending shortage of primary care physicians and “that rural and inner-city communities are more likely to suffer the consequences.” At the end of the day, it only takes a small fraction of your day to get moving and make a difference in your health. By gradually building a daily habit of taking 30 minutes a day to improve your fitness levels, you’ll save valuable time and money when you need it most. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are no joke, and the financial and logistical aspects of receiving future healthcare are becoming even more challenging. As such, it is becoming more and more important to view ‘Exercise as Preventative Medicine’. All it takes is that first step, so what are you waiting for?