There’s no debate about the benefits derived from a steady exercise regime. Being physically fit aids in weight management, lowers blood pressure, improves heart health, maintains muscle strength, reduces joint pain….not to mention increasing our life span.
The verdict on the benefits of exercise has been clear for decades however Statistics Canada says only 16% of Canadian adults are getting the recommended amount of physical activity needed to achieve these benefits. (150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week).
In the United States, the CDC reports that more than 60 percent of U.S. adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity. Approximately 25 percent of U.S. adults are not active at all. The juxtaposition of these two lifestyle choices is staggering when one considers the data.
The medical establishment, in hand with the pharmaceutical companies, has been steadily pushing an agenda of pills and medications as the cure all for whatever ails us vs healthy diet and exercise.
Medications are now given to help with weight loss, insomnia, muscle aches, diabetes, blood pressure and much more…including medications for mental health.
In the United States alone the CDC reported that during 2015–2018, 13.2% of adults aged 18 and over used antidepressant medications in the past 30 days. Use was higher among women (17.7%) than men (8.4%).
Antidepressant use increased with age, overall and in both sexes—use was highest among women aged 60 and over (24.3%).
These numbers have only increased since then. Canadians are no better off, Canadians are among the world’s biggest consumers of antidepressants.
A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) put Canada in third place on a list of 23 industrialized nations.
In another troubling statistic, many people who are taking antidepressants simply can’t get off of them. This is because they get intolerable withdrawal symptoms.
These symptoms include dizziness, balance problems, fatigue, cognitive deficits, insomnia, anxiety, aches and pains and nausea.
Not to mention shock sensations in the head called brain zaps.
For some, these medications have been a godsend and have improved their overall quality of life, this is a good thing.
But the question does arise about whether or not these medications are being over prescribed.
A prescription towards a healthier lifestyle instead of medications, that sometimes only mask the symptoms, seems to have evaded any medical curriculum taught in the last 50+ years.
In 2019, Canada was reported to have spent $264 billion on health care, which equates to $7,068 per Canadian citizen.
In the United States a CMS report estimated that national health care spending reached $3.81 trillion in 2019 and would increase to $4.01 trillion in 2020. CMS projected that by 2028, health care spending would reach $6.19 trillion, and would account for 19.7% of GDP, up from 17.7% in 2018.
These figures beg the question about why serious money is not being spent by governments to promote a healthier lifestyle with proper diet and exercise. The saving alone would be well worth the cost of any campaign of this type.
A study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found that if the fruit and vegetable incentive was carried out over a lifetime, the model estimated that the average consumption of fruits and vegetables would increase by about 0.4 servings per day. This would prevent about 1.93 million cardiovascular disease events and save $39.7 billion in health care costs (these results were published on March 19, 2019, in PLoS Medicine).
Further research was done by a group studying at Baptist Health, South Florida, where they also discovered that exercise lowers healthcare costs. They analyzed data from a 2012 nationwide survey of 26,000 people aged 18 and up. Some participants suffered from a stroke, heart failure, heart rhythm problems and peripheral artery disease. Others did not. The researchers kept track of which participants worked out for the recommended amount of 30 minutes — of moderate to vigorous exercise — five times per week.
The study found that regularly exercising individuals in both the heart-disease free group and the heart-disease present group had lower health care costs than those who did not meet the exercise guidelines.
People with cardiovascular disease lowered their medical bills by an average $2500 a year if they followed a consistent exercising routine. Individuals without heart disease and a risk factor of one saved around $500 a year in healthcare costs, as well.
The conclusion should be obvious to anyone who wants to live a better quality of life as well as save on medical costs associated with a poor diet and lack of exercise.
It’s simple, Eat well and exercise!
(Here’s a great place to start:“Seniors Exercise Routine”