“Health is a blessing money cannot buy.”
– Izaak Walton
Working hard and a good work ethic are given great importance in our society today. At times, it would seem that we prize these qualities above all others. It makes sense considering no successful CEO, or wealthy individual makes it far without either. Furthermore, in a culture where the picture of success is tantamount with living in luxury, these qualities are a must. After all, without hard work it is unlikely you will make money.
The pressure to succeed can often become overwhelming. I, graduating with a substantial amount of debt, found myself anxious to find new ways to make some extra cash on the side. In the process, late nights, fast food, added stress, and no exercise became the norm – that went on for some time. Eventually, it became apparent my health was spiraling out of control. I did not have to be a genius to figure out that sleep deprivation, junk food, and no exercise often resulted in poor health – we hear about it all the time. After some reflection, I quickly realized I was missing the big picture, not to mention slowly destroying my greatest asset – my body.
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You are your greatest asset. I will admit, it is easy to let your health slip. Especially in the name of money. However, your ability to trade your service for a salary is what enables you to become financially independent someday, or for some, wealthy. This is why protecting yourself and nurturing good healthy habits is so important. If you lose your health, you lose your income. Add the dollars you will spend on medical bills to your loss of income, and you have yourself somewhat of a financial crisis.
There are many different incentives to stay healthy. Among the most motivating is not only protecting your income or saving significant amounts of money, but also having adequate health to enjoy spending your hard earned cash. After all, money is no good if you are not healthy enough to enjoy it.
The Gym Pays
In addition to preventing costly illnesses – like diabetes, heart disease, and strokes – studies have shown that staying physically fit leads to lower medical costs, and a larger nest egg in retirement. Hitting the gym can also boost your salary. According to Cleveland State associate professor Vasilios Kosteas, visiting the gym at least 3 times a week is linked to a 7% higher pay for men, and 12% for women.
- Do 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of high intensity physical activity per week, and strength training at least twice a week.
Down to Save
Carrying extra weight around can cost you. A study done by Duke researchers found that higher healthcare spending is associated with higher BMI (Body Mass Index) levels. A BMI of 19 equated to $2,541, BMI of 25 (overweight) $2,893, and BMI of 33 (obese) $3,439.
Obese Americans have also been estimated to spend an aggregate of $30 billion extra on clothing. In addition, a 40-year-old obese man will pay twice as much for life insurance. Some studies suggest that obese workers earn approximately 2.5% less compared to those with normal body weight.
If these facts are not enough of an incentive to lose weight, I do not know what is.
- Keep a food diary. Several studies have consistently shown this to work. Keeping a food diary makes you aware of dietary challenges, or problems, enabling you to finding solutions and make changes.
Make Money Sleeping
Chronic loss of sleep has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity. Yes, sleeping less can actually predispose you to weight gain. So while you might think skipping on Z’s to hit the gym is a good idea, it turns out the only kind of gains you are likely to make are less muscular and more fatty.
Some studies have also shown that an extra hour of sleep can actually result in a 5% wage increase. Getting a good night sleep allows us to do our best work, which can result in raises and promotions. In contrast, sleep deprivation lowers our productivity and creativity.
- Get between 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Make sure you shut off all screens an hour before your bedtime. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to help your body establish some consistency. Tips for getting up in the morning include stretching in bed, pulling the covers off, exposing yourself to bright light, and placing your alarm where you have to get up to turn it off (and do not snooze, you will only make yourself more groggy).
The benefits are obvious. One look at the facts and the subject is inarguable – keeping your body well maintained allows you to keep, and make more money. Good health is a crucial part in preserving financial fitness. Whether it is by providing an opportunity to make more money, saving on healthcare spending, or keeping us healthy enough to enjoy our nest egg. Protect your greatest asset, and you will reap the reward into your golden years.
Comment below with any other interesting ways to save or make more money.
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