Not exercising is costing you over $3,321 a year.

Exercise very rarely comes easily. Sure, you might feel awesome afterwards, but actually getting up and out there? Painful.

Some days will be harder than others. Like, when it’s 5am and drizzling outside, and your dog has just nuzzled in for a cuddle. Or when it’s 6pm on a Monday and you’re choosing between a Pump Class or a glass of wine in the bath.

These are the moments we need to dig deep, and find that shining nugget of motivation that carries us through.

Well, try this on for size: by exercising daily, you’re saving yourself around $3,221 a year.

Just half an hour of exercise, five times a week, could save you $3k a year in health costs.

The Journal of the American Heart Association has released a study of 26,239 men and women to see if they could figure out what being active (or rather, inactive) costs each of us annually in health care spending.

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Thanks to longer working hours and propensity towards unhealthy eating, our modern society is bigger and slower than ever. Our sedentary lifestyles are racking up serious health care bills as we struggle with cardiac illness, nutritional issues, muscular and skeletal strain, poor sleeping habits, anxiety, depression, type 2 diabetes, strokes, and more.

According to an article by The New York Times on the AHA's research, "The study concluded that inactivity costs the world economy almost $68 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. In the United States alone, the total was almost $28 billion."

 

Australia's healthcare system is also beginning to groan under the weight of poor health.

According to The Huffington Post, inactivity is costing Australia $805 million a year on conditions associated with non-active lifestyles, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates the majority of Australian sit in the 'obese' end of the spectrum.

"In Australia over three in five adults (63 per cent) are overweight or obese. Nearly three in five (57 per cent) do not exercise enough for good health, and in 2011-12 only eight per cent of adults were eating enough vegetables and 49 per cent were eating enough fruit for optimum nutrition." (AHIW)

Being unhealthy is expensive. (Post continues after gallery.)

 

What's not expensive, however, is exercise. Forget gym memberships or $30-a-pop yoga classes. All you need to be doing in half an hour of walking a day.

"On average, someone who met the exercise guidelines paid $2,500 [USD] less in annual healthcare expenses related to heart disease," wrote The New York Times, "than someone who did not walk or otherwise move for 30 minutes five times per week."

Moderate exercise - which is all you need to be aiming for - can be anything from a stroll around the block at lunchtime, to raking your backyard on the weekend.

Easy, right?

So save yourself over $3,000 a year in healthcare costs - a few extra years on your life! - and adopt some regular exercise into your life.

Image credit: Ab Fab, BBC.

Many of us have a love/hate relationship with exercise, but the health benefits can't be ignored. Plus, we look at how the "fitspiration" movement can do more harm than good, why our notions of exercise revolve around body image, and how to ignore all that. 

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