Study Shows Mid-life Fitness Reduced Health Costs Later In Life

According to a new study, it has been found that yearly medical bills cost considerably more for people who have low levels of fitness in mid-life, compared to those with high levels of fitness.

The study was recorded in the JACC or Journal of The American College Of Cardiology in which researches studied 19,571 individuals with good health who at the average age of 49 participated in an assessment of their cardio-respiratory fitness and approximately 22 years later received Medicare at the average of 71 between 2001 and 2009.

The cardio-respiratory fitness was calculated from the METs or metabolic equivalents that are used to estimate what the activity costs in terms of oxygen on a treadmill. For instance, running reasonably hard on a treadmill set to an incline can equal 15 METs, while sitting equals just 1 MET.
When the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study researchers followed the healthy individuals they discovered that on average the annual health care costs were considerably lower for members of the study group 65 and over who had high levels of fitness during mid-life, compared to those who did not. This worked out as an average of $7, 569 compared to $12, 811 for men and $6, 065 compared to $10, 029 for women.

This is the first study of its kind that looked into the possibility of fitness during mid-life having a positive or negative affect on health care costs later in life. The findings could have vital implications in the future for health policies established with the aim of improving physical fitness.