We all know the term ‘self-care’ has become a popular part of today’s vernacular whether it be in your office breakroom, on social media, or even on health news channels. You yourself might even plan to practice some type of self-care as a part of your New Year’s Resolutions. But what is self-care and why would Signature Performance, a healthcare company dedicated to improving the cost and access to healthcare be interested in self-care?
Self-care can be defined as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health. Types of self-care could include but are not limited to, enrolling in a gym membership, purchasing a walking pad for your at-home office, signing up for a healthy meal subscription service, downloading a meditation or sleep app, or proactively using mental health resources such as therapy.
Although the concept of self-care can seem trivial at times...we all know someone who purchased a Peloton in 2020 who never quite maximized its sweaty potential...self-care as a movement has and will continue to impact the healthcare space. Millennials in particular, are redefining what it means to have total well-being and are dedicating their time, energy, and finances to fine-tuning their self-care regimens. And while you might think of self-care as just another expense month to month, what if participating in these activities could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars year over year in traditional healthcare costs?
As a company who has been serving healthcare for over 20 years, our team at Signature Performance is committed to exploring unique and out-of-the-box ways we can help transform the industry. By exploring the different types of self-care we can examine their positive health benefits and directly connect self-care to a future with lower healthcare costs.
Prioritizing Physical Fitness to Boost Overall Health Outcomes.
Let’s take a look at that new gym membership you’ve seen everyone in town signing up for to ‘kick off their new year’. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the average adult needs 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle strengthening activity per week. Research shows that individuals who belong to a formalized exercise establishment (think your local YMCA) are more than 14 times more likely to meet these weekly physical activity guidelines.
Routine gym goers also have routinely better cardiovascular health and are at a dramatically reduced risk of obesity. By hitting the gym a couple times per week, the likelihood of developing serious diseases and or other health conditions such as High Blood Pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, or Coronary Heart Disease can be drastically reduced. According to the National Institute of Health, the average person with diabetes incurs annual medical expenditures of almost $20,000, 2.6 times higher than what could be expected for those without diabetes.
“What many people do not realize is that fitness level is the best predictor of all-cause mortality. That is, the better cardiovascular shape you are in, the less likely you are to die early from heart disease, stroke, complications of diabetes and even cancer-the leading causes of death of Americans. Cardiovascular exercise combined with a daily practice of prayer and or meditation are the best self-care options for lifelong good health and lower healthcare costs.” said Dr. Leo Greenstone, Chief Medical Officer at Signature Performance, when asked about the importance of physical health.
Suddenly stopping by the gym three times a week on your way home from work, or waking up 30 minutes earlier to take a walk around the neighborhood suddenly seems like a no brainer, right? Even purchasing a walking-pad for your desk to add in 30 extra minutes of physical activity per day can make a huge impact on your overall health and could potentially decrease your yearly medical expenses.
Healthy Diets, Meal Subscriptions, and Improved Long-term Health.
Another form of self-care that has gained momentum in the last few years is the peaked interest of Millennials in eating healthier, more balanced meals as a lifestyle choice rather than as a chore. The adoption of meal service subscriptions by young professionals in particular has been on the rise since the Covid-19 pandemic. And while for those who love crafting elaborate recipes in the kitchen this may not seem like a benefit, for those who dread cooking, grocery shopping, or simply don’t know what to eat to have a well-balanced diet, these products have been able to make a positive impact on their overall health.
According to the CDC, eating a well-balanced diet is one of the top ways to promote an overall healthy lifestyle. By eating nutrient-full meals adults can boost their immunity, strengthen bones and muscles, improve their digestive system, maintain a healthy weight, and lower the risk of Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and some cancers. With meal subscription services ramping up in popularity, people who may have previously opted for fast food options, can have better access to a balanced, proportion controlled diet with little to no guesswork. By keeping your immunity strong and your body properly energized, you can reduce your likelihood of illness and or injury which could ultimately save you from an unplanned trip to the doctor. Less unexpected doctor visits will likely result in less unexpected medical costs.
The Big Picture
When examining the obsession with self-care it's hard to ignore the positive outcomes it is having on overall health and well-being. The more time and energy spent on total wellness, whether it be attending daily Pilates classes, opting for a more nutrient filled lunch, or practicing daily gratitude, the less likely one is to experience extreme or severe health issues. Taking a preventative approach to healthcare can make a huge difference in the lifespan of one person. By opting for healthier choices and making self-care a priority, we can predict that those who participate in this new wave of health-inspired living will see lower health risks, reduced medical expenses, and a longer life expectancy.
At Signature Performance, we are dedicated to lowering healthcare costs in the United States by improving the access and quality of care. Although our specialty lies in healthcare administration, we are committed to staying curious about healthcare trends and how small changes to one's lifestyle can make an impact in overall health outcomes. With healthcare administrative costs accounting for over 40% of total healthcare spend, we know there is a problem that needs a solution. If each individual can take one small step to improve their overall health and well-being, we believe the healthcare industry as a whole can benefit and improve.
This article has been adapted from Signature's Internal Publication, Signature Moments.