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Walking can save your life and help you save money.

Daily Steps Are An Investment

A step a day keeps the doctor away

What if you knew that taking just one more step a day could reduce your healthcare costs? Would you try to take one more step towards health daily? Have you ever considered how much being inactive might cost you? One more step a day is 365 more steps a year. But could such a small effort make a difference in your health and expenses?

A recent study in Japan posed this very question. Using a wellness project implemented at a college, researchers measured how many steps a day participants took using a pedometer from 2009 to 2013. Then, investigators accessed participant healthcare data from April 2009 to March 2013. They looked at how much money each participant spent on inpatient and outpatient healthcare.

And what was the result? A one-step increase in a person’s average daily step reduced their outpatient healthcare costs.

Even more interesting is the impact this one step could have on a community. Previous research estimates an international cost of $53.8 billion (mostly paid by the public sector) to society annually.

How could inactivity cost so much? Consider how much direct healthcare costs are and then include disability-adjusted life-years for related diseases and productivity losses.

The financial burden of inactivity can add up quickly! And how is it paid for? Insurance premiums and taxes rise as the number of less active people rises. Even where you live and how healthy your community is can affect what you pay for insurance.

So, do you want to be healthier, mentally and physically, AND SAVE MONEY? Consider ways that you can add a few steps to your daily routine. Maybe you’ve heard you should take a walk every morning or after dinner. Maybe you’ve even tried parking further away. But here are a few other fun ways to push yourself to walk more.  

Drink More Water: You might be thinking, “What I thought we were talking about walking?” We certainly are. Drinking water is not only good for you, but it also makes you have to walk to the bathroom more often.

Take Commercial Breaks: Is there a commercial break during the show you’re watching? Perfect. Take a lap around the house and you won’t miss a thing.

Compete with friends: Lots of people have some way to track their steps these days whether it’s a phone, watch or pedometer, find a friend to hold you accountable and maybe even compete for a prize! Who can get the most steps in a certain amount of time?

Just Dance: Whenever you’re making a meal that’s not hands-on – you’ve put something in the oven, microwave, waiting for a pot to boil, etc. – turn on music and get to dancing! It’s a great way to get more steps in.

Walk and Talk: If you’re making a phone call for work or pleasure and you don’t need a computer to accomplish the meeting, consider taking the phone on the road. Walk the neighborhood while you talk.

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Daily steps and healthcare costs in Japanese communities. 

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