Article by Gavin Stoddart – Bay City Gym Manager/Personal Trainer
In the current economic climate, it is tempting to cut back on your health expenditure but that may be a short-sighted approach to reducing costs.
Keeping your body and mind physically fit is one of the best ways to live a longer and fuller life but it can also save you money.
If you aren’t already living a healthy life, here are some money related reasons why you should. Sometimes, all it takes is some small lifestyle changes to get started.
1. Exercise Lowers Health Bills
Exercise can lift your mood, heighten energy, improve sleep and lead to a longer life. Just 30 minutes a day of physical activity is recommended — even a brisk walk counts.
Regular physical activity decreases the risk of chronic health conditions and diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, stroke, and diabetes. These medical conditions can become costly, so helping to prevent them can potentially save you money at the pharmacy, doctor visits, and even hospital stays each year. For example, medical expenses for people with diabetes are 2.3x higher, according to the American Diabetes Association.
2. Kicking Bad Habits Eliminates Hefty Expenses
You can exercise all you want, but it won’t make a difference if you’re still smoking a pack a day. Cigarettes increase the risk of chronic health conditions, such as cancer and heart disease.
Additionally, smoking is a costly habit. Let’s say you smoke a pack a day that costs you $35. That adds up to about $12,775 a year. Plus, all the medical expenses attached to treating lung cancer are not something you want to deal with either. Save your money and your health by beating the smoking habit while adding value to your life.
3. Avoid Weight Fluctuation and Spend Less on Clothes
Fluctuating weight can be an emotional roller coaster. If you’ve been up and down in weight, you know that purchasing new clothes can happen too often. New clothes each time this happens is not good for your bottom line.
But a combination of exercise and a healthy diet can shave centimetres off your waist while adding more to your savings.
4. Eating Healthier Means Less Spent on Junk
“You are what you eat” and I am sure you don’t want to be a Big Mac. Spending time preparing wholesome home cooked meals and a couple of times a week replacing meat with vegetarian options is a great way to save money and improve your health as well as save the cost of the petrol needed to go and pick up takeaways.
5. Packing Your Lunch is worth the time
If you have been working hard all day and suddenly have a craving for food, it’s not uncommon to head out and grab whatever is handy, which is often not the best choice for your health or your wallet.
Packing a lunch can be a healthier money-saving alternative. For instance, spending $12 a day on lunch during the work week adds up to $240 a month and $2,880 for an entire year. Packing a lunch, on the other hand, means you’ll never be starved into making bad food decisions. A good strategy is to make a bit extra for dinner (or have a smaller serving) and pack the remainder for lunch the next day.
An important part of packing your lunch is choosing healthy options. Be sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks as well.
6. Being a Healthy Weight Saves You on Life Insurance
Healthy people (non-smokers and those in normal weight ranges) pay lower premiums (preferred rates) for life insurance, compared to smokers and those who are overweight. Policy pricing reflects the strong association between healthy lifestyles and prevention and additional years of life.
Commitment to moderate exercise and a healthy diet can help you shave off a few kilos and get a better deal — saving you money in the long run.
7. Drinking More Water Is Free
From fizzy drinks to frothy beers, neither of these should be your drink of choice for a healthy lifestyle — especially if you’re looking to cut costs and calories. For instance, the average regular can of soft drink contains 150 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar, which increases the risk of weight gain and other health issues associated with excess sugar intake.
The average kiwi consumes around 75 litres of soft drinks per year. Add beer to the mix and you can imagine the results to your waistline and your finances. But if you stick to six to eight glasses of water a day, which is free from the tap, you’ll be healthier and have more money in your pocket.
Another cost consideration is the coffee you buy on the way to work each day. At around $5 per coffee, you are looking at an annual bill of around $1300 which works out more than most gym memberships.
8. A Healthy Diet Leads to Fewer Sick Days
Being sick is no fun and not only do you run the risk of missing work, but you also have the added cost of a doctor’s visit and medication. If this happens often, it could really affect your bottom line.
Give your immune system the boost it needs by eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which have the important vitamins and minerals to help you stay well. A healthy diet can protect you against serious health conditions like cancer and heart disease, as well as seasonal illnesses like the flu.
9. Walking or Biking Saves You on Transportation
Do you hop in the car just to pop down the road, even though you can easily walk or ride your bike? Do you pay for parking, just so you don’t have to walk further? If so, it’s time to utilise these opportunities for missed exercise — and money saving opportunities — and walk or bike to your destination instead.
The general recommendation is to aim for 10,000 steps per day. This isn’t going to happen if you’re driving everywhere. Plus, every time you drive, you’re putting more wear and tear on your vehicle. You’re not doing yourself or your car any favours by taking the easy route.
Being healthy is a lifestyle choice, but you get the ultimate say. Doing all or some of these tips can make a huge difference for your health and bank account. And remember: Health affects energy, sleep, and your total well-being — and that includes your finance as well.