We have all heard the recommendation to improve one’s health, body composition and to combat the onset of chronic disease is exercising three times a week for at least thirty minutes. So why are only half of Americans doing this? The two biggest obstacles for most are time and money. When it comes to the expense, the comparison should be made between the cost of personal training/eating healthy versus the cost of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease care.
In 2012, $245 billion dollars was spent on diabetes care in the U.S. The average person who is diagnosed with diabetes will spend an estimated $13,700/year in medical care. In 2010, 58.6 million Americans were diagnosed with high blood pressure. Direct healthcare spending to treat hypertension totaled $42.9 billion dollars with almost half that being spent on medications alone. If you are diagnosed with hypertension, your annual cost for care is estimated at $733/year. Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death for males and females in our country today. One in three Americans have this diagnosis and this is predicted to triple in cost by 2030. The annual cost for care is somewhere between $4,000-$12,000 based on your specific diagnosis. Next, it’s not uncommon to be diagnosed with more than one of these diseases, which just increases the cost.
Now let’s look at the cost comparison of hiring a personal trainer and eating a healthy diet. The average cost of personal training is $60/hour. With the recommendation of exercising three times per week, your annual cost would be $8, 640/year. The cost of eating a healthy diet or one high in fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts over an diet based on processed foods and refined grains is an additional $1.50 per day. This totals to roughly $548/year extra for groceries.
In my eyes, this is a more accurate comparison. Having worked in the medical field for more than 30 years, I have witnessed the impact these three diseases can have on our lives. All three are prevented or better managed with lifestyle modifications. While we cannot change our genes, we can attempt to lessen the burden on our health. We are now seeing children and teens being diagnosed with adult onset diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. This is stunning to me. Ten years ago, I chose to hire a trainer and eat a better diet because I didn’t want to be one of those statistics. Even as a nurse, I was 100 pounds overweight and headed down that path. My take on hiring a trainer to create an exercise program and taking the initiative to eat better is an investment. You are investing in yourself and your health. With consistency and hard work, the return on investment is almost immediate.
When you find yourself with extra money, think twice about what you are going to spend it on. Boats, fancy cars and the latest electronics are luxury items. Consider hiring a reputable trainer and spending a bit more on healthier food. Investing in yourself will help you to avoid having to spend your hard earned money on doctor’s visits, medications and hospital stays down the road.