This article first appeared on ZLife.

You are part of the solution to the inactivity pandemic – one of the most perplexing problems of the modern day.

Ever since our forefathers figured out how to make life so much easier for us – we have abused this gift to the point of, well, killing ourselves.

So how are you helping? Because you’re living an active lifestyle. Whether you call it exercise, physical activity, working out or some other nomenclature of the day, fact is – you’re doing a good thing. Very good. Good for you, your family, and society.

Those Zumba® classes, those bike rides, even those family walks after dinner – they’re all helping. Consider these facts:

  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that if all physically inactive Americans became active, we would save $77 billion in annual medical costs.
  • Medicare and Medicaid (collectively) spend $84 billion annually on five major chronic conditions that could be significantly improved by increased physical activity: diabetes, heart disease, depression, cancer, and arthritis.
  • The average annual direct medical costs are $1,019 for those who are regularly physically active compared with $1,349 for those who are inactive.
  • Engaging in regular physical activity is associated with taking less medication and having fewer hospitalizations and physician visits.
  • If 10% of adults began a regular walking program, the savings in costs associated with heart disease would total $5.6 billion.

Of course, none of this is new information. We’ve known that physical activity is good for us for, well, nearly forever. It’s only been in the last 40 or 50 years that the impact of inactivity has been calculated into financial terms.

We can’t, of course, force others to be healthy. But we can control what we do and that means not being one of the 80 million Americans who are not active. It means not contributing to the rise in inactivity. It means passing the importance of exercise to the next generation.

You’re doing that. You should be commended. Congratulations!

Photo credit: ThinkStock, moodboard