The older we become, the less likely we are to engage in physical activity of any kind. The numbers are staggering. In another 25 years, there will be 70 million Americans aged 65 years and older. And those over age 85 are already growing faster than any other age group. But less than one-third of people over 65 perform regular exercise. By age 75, 40 percent have stopped doing any physical activity.
The cost of physical inactivity is enormous, not just to our health but also to our wallets. One analysis of the economic burden suggests that an average of $330 dollars per person can be saved in direct medical costs by maintaining physical activity and exercise. If the estimated 88 million Americans older than 14 years of age who are now considered inactive became regular exercisers, medical costs in the United States would decrease by as much as $76 billion.
To continue reading this article, you must login
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.