All to often, I focus on financial matters and money reasons, but…
Your Health is Your Greatest Investment
In the United States, it is well known that health care is expensive. A trip to the emergency room or urgent care costs anywhere from a couple hundred dollars for a simple sprained ankle check up to thousands of dollars for an emergency procedure. One of the best ways to prevent expensive health care costs in life is by taking care of yourself now.
Putting your health first doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor either. A few simple free or inexpensive steps can dramatically increase your health and lower the likelihood that you’ll get hit with a high hospital or doctor’s office bill in the future.
Exercising regularly not only prevents obesity, but it also prevents the likelihood of osteoporosis and increases cardiovascular health. By exercising 30 minutes a day, you can increase your overall health, lower your stress levels, and keep unwanted pounds off – all of which can keep you out of the doctor’s office. Running or biking outside, working with free weights or doing an exercise video in your home are easy and effective ways to meeting your daily minimum exercise needs.
Attending a gym regularly has also become more affordable in recent years as well. For $10 a month, you can easily ensure access to the workout facilities needs to keep yourself healthy. Signing up for a gym membership will also help reduce the likelihood of excuses for skipping out on regular exercise.
A diet high in processed foods, simple carbohydrates, sugar, and unhealthy fats may seem more affordable than a diet rich in fresh produce, lean meats, and healthy fats, but ultimately, it may cost you more in the long run. Eating poorly has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and a slew of other diseases and illnesses. Many of these diseases can result in expensive hospital visits, procedures, and a lifetime of medications.
Paying a few extra dollars to eat quality food can save you thousands on hospital bills in the future. Buy fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats, whole grains, and foods rich in quality fats such as avocados and almonds. Local grocery stores may have high prices for fresh produce, however, many cities have farmer markets or co-ops which may offer higher quality food at a lower price.
Unfortunately, most of our lives are centered around sitting. We sit at desks for 8 hours a day for our jobs, we sit when we eat our meals, and we sit around the TV or computer to relax at night. Sitting for hours on end has been linked to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and several other diseases that can lead to costly procedures and lifelong prescriptions.
To combat the effects of sitting for long periods of time, try to move throughout the day. Walk around the office for 10 minutes every hour. Go for a walk during your lunch break. Height adjustable standing desks are also gaining popularity in the workplace, and can help alleviate the stress of sitting for 10 hours a day while also providing an effective workspace. If your office doesn’t already have initiatives for active lifestyles, ask your employer if additions and benefits like standing desks or reduced gym membership fees, could be established. My employer provides such benefits and we take full advantage of them… along with 15 minutes walks around the facility.
Reconsider Your Habits
If you are a smoker or routinely drink alcohol, there is a strong likelihood that these habits are affecting your health. Smoking is strongly linked to cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer, and heavy drinking is linked to cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease, and dementia. All of these conditions are expensive to treat, and many require lifelong health care expenses.
Reducing your alcohol intake and quitting smoking now will not only improve your overall health, doing so will also keep money in your pocket immediately. If you are struggling with quitting smoking or drinking, consider finding online support or a local organization to help. A quick internet search will let you know what resources are available in your area.
Taking care of yourself now is one of the best investments you can make. Illness and disease doesn’t stay within the confines of socioeconomic status. Choosing to live an unhealthy lifestyle can easily clean out that savings account or the retirement funds you’re working so hard to create now, and leave you penniless or struggling during retirement. Be active. Stay fit. Eat right. Doing so will help you keep your money safe so that you can enjoy the life you work hard for.
Maintaining your health also keeps you mind keen (or at least I hope so!).