You can, but not in the way that you think. The initial investment of new shoes, workout attire and a gym membership may set you back a few hundred dollars or so, but the savings begin over the course of your life or even a semester.

Consider this: you are a new MacEwan University Sport and Wellness member and have decided to try a value-added spin class. What is the impact you are having? There is the direct impact of needing an instructor and a bike. There is an indirect impact on the maintenance of the bike and the room for the class. After class, you feel amazing, so you sign up for another class and go into the weight room for a workout or maybe the pool for a swim. The direct and indirect impact is now extended to other areas of the facility. A few weeks later, you are continuing your exercise program, and because you are starting to feel good, you’re making other positive changes in your life. Maybe you’re paying attention to what you’re eating, how much water you’re drinking and trying to get more sleep. These positive changes are starting to compound, and you strive to make more, noticing an improvement in your physical and mental health, and others may also start to notice them.

Not getting enough physical activity increases your risk of developing preventable diseases like diabetes or heart disease while negatively impacting your mental health. There is also a financial burden if you cannot work or require medication because of illness. According to the November 2021 world health report, 26% of men and 31% of women aged 18 or over aren’t getting the recommended hours of physical activity, and these numbers are growing. That means more people will be developing preventable diseases such as obesity and heart disease, and the estimated cost of healthcare will reach $6 billion by 2030.

Conversely, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle saves money in the healthcare system in the long term. You’ll earn back your initial few hundred dollar investment as health savings within a year. Savings grow exponentially as more people join in, and we all benefit when others are healthy and active. In 2019 nearly 2.2 million health conditions were prevented due to physical activity. Wouldn’t it be great if we could increase this number?

The Canadian fitness industry supports over 83,000 jobs; of those, there are more than 70 employees at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness. They are part of directly adding $1.4 billion annually into the economy. Your ~$50 monthly membership and the new workout clothes seem to go a long way when considering the impact chain.

Want to run away from your problems? Why not try City Centre Runners or a value-added spin class? Do you feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Get stronger with Strength 45 or Kettlebell Blitz. Do you need a workout but also the opportunity to vent about life? Book some sessions with one of our exercise specialists. Invest in your health now for savings in the long run.

by Colleen Belohorec

Colleen has been working in the fitness industry since 2008 as an AFLCA-certified group fitness instructor and CSEP-certified personal trainer and joined the MacEwan University Sport and Wellness team in 2022.