smart spending

5 New Year's resolutions that save money

Exercise regularly
3 of 7

You'll save money in several ways with regular exercise.

On average, Americans are spending $7,800 annually on health care, according to the National Association of Health Underwriters. "More than half those costs are the result of lifestyle choices," says Leavitt.

But exercise brings real savings. "If people are eating right and exercising three times a week for 20 minutes a day, they see prescription costs decrease by 70 percent and medical costs decrease by 30 percent," he says.

Dietitian Katherine Tallmadge has seen similar results in her patients. Exercise can dramatically improve conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, she says.

With exercise alone, patients (with their doctor's guidance), "are able to go off medications entirely or cut medication in half," says Tallmadge, spokeswoman for the Chicago-based American Dietetic Association and author of "Diet Simple."




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