Healthcare costs in the US are astronomical and continue to rise. Even with decent insurance, most of us have deductibles and co-pays and it all adds up. The less we have to go to the doctor, the better. The best way to avoid illness and disease is to live a healthy lifestyle. While even the healthiest lifestyle can’t guarantee you’ll never need medical care, it can certainly reduce the chances. And that can result in a significant reduction in medical costs over our lifetimes.
In addition to regular medical care, conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s can reduce a person’s ability to live independently as they get older, which also increases costs. The longer you remain healthy enough to live without paying for care, the less money it will cost you in the long run.
There are many ways to help reduce your risk for these diseases and disabilities. The University of Georgia produced a study that concluded that a simple walking exercise program was one of the best ways to reduce your odds of becoming disabled. Brisk walks, yard work, gardening, and household chores also helped reduce the occurrence of dementia.
Reducing your weight is also a good idea and can certainly help with a lot of health issues. The CDC reports that just a 10% reduction in weight can result in a $2200 to $5300 reduction in healthcare costs over your lifetime. But, activity seems to be the real deciding factor. Overweight seniors who are active are less likely to develop disabilities than either normal weight or overweight seniors who are not active.
Many of the health issues we see often in older people can be avoided or drastically reduced just by living a healthier lifestyle when you are younger. Exercising, controlling weight, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and not smoking are the best ways to reduce your chances of debilitating illnesses that require expensive medical care in your older years. You should also see your doctor regularly to find and deal with issues before they get out of control. Early detection of health problems can reduce your need to medications, surgeries, and long-term care. It can also extend your life!