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Study: Staying active can reduce our chances of needing medical care

Originally posted by Northwest News Radio

We’ve known for years that staying active is good for you. It helps the heart. It makes your joints feel better. It’s good for the brain. And now, there’s proof it reduces the need for healthcare.

Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine found that people who regularly engage in physical activity are less likely to go to the doctor, emergency room, or be admitted to the hospital.

“And this is big news,” said Dr. Cindy Lin, a sports medicine expert with UW Medicine and the lead author of the report. “Our bodies were designed to move and not to sit all day. And unfortunately, most of modern-day life is just having a sitting.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service recommends exercising 150 minutes or more a week, but you don’t have to go to the gym and work out to get the benefits of exercise.

“People have a tendency to overcomplicate physical activity,” Dr. Lin told me. “But really it could just be getting up and taking little movement breaks throughout the day. All of that counts, and adds up,” she said.

The report suggests that encouraging people to be more physically active could substantially reduce the nation’s healthcare costs.