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Health Savings Plan Advice: Exercise

Health Savings Plan Advice: Exercise

When Al Green croons How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, he doesn’t provide an answer, but a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association has figured out a lot about it—and the benefits are totaled in dollars and cents.

Seems if folks with diagnosed heart disease (coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, irregular heart rhythm, or peripheral artery disease) get the recommended amount of weekly exercise to strengthen their hearts, they pocket around $2,500 that they would otherwise spend on medical costs each year! That’s like double points or cash back—but it’s you, instead of a credit card. See, you can get paid to exercise!

So what’s the routine that offers these rewards? First, talk with your doc about how to get started safely, then aim for the American Heart Association’s recommendations: 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (slightly sweaty, breathing a bit more rapidly) five days a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week, or a combo. To lower blood pressure and lousy LDL cholesterol? They say aim for 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity 3 or 4 times weekly. And you can divide the exercise into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes.

We recommend an interval walking routine (one minute at a more intense pace, five-plus minutes at moderate pace) while aiming for 10,000 steps a day and strength-building exercise twice a week for 30 minutes. Even more money stays in your pocket. Ka-ching!

Medically reviewed in September 2018.

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