We all enjoy the benefits of running and the enhanced quality of life it brings, but wouldn’t it be great to get paid for it? No, I’m not talking about becoming a professional runner and winning races and making money, I’m talking about being paid to just be a runner. Sound farfetched? This idea may not be as crazy as it sounds, because there are some great incentives for governments to fiscally reward those who are active.
Take a look at the following statistics:
- A 2000 study by the Centers for Disease Control estimated that direct health care costs could be reduced in the U.S. by as much as $76.6 billion dollars per year by increasing the activity level of 87 million sedentary Americans.
- The same study estimated that direct health care costs for an active person was around $310 less per person per year versus a sedentary person.
- The non-direct health care costs such as time lost at work, disability and other factors were also significantly less for active people.
- An earlier Canadian study (1993) supports the 2000 study, and states that the Canadian health system would save approximately $5.7 billion dollars in health care costs per year if the 63 percent of Canadians who were considered sedentary became active.
Running is a healthy lifestyle choice for most of us. As a consequence this demographic is part of the solution to reducing health care costs and lost productivity. So why shouldn’t there be incentives to continue and further encourage this type of behavior?
In Canada, the federal government is starting to give this idea serious consideration. In 2007, parents of children enrolled in approved sports programs can apply for up to a $500 tax credit. There has also been talk of allowing memberships at gyms and other fitness facilities to be tax deductible.
So why shouldn’t we as runners’ get some reimbursement for our efforts? I know I’d appreciate a few dollars every year towards running shoes and running gear.