Doing simple, cost effective things to stay healthy today will keep you from spending more money down the line. The truth is, the cost of treating chronic disease can be debilitating enough to cause job loss; it’s cited as one of the top reasons why people go bankrupt. The high cost of poor health is a leading cause of bankruptcy in this country.
Let’s take a look at how big a bite our medical costs are taking from our savings. Get a load of this study that proclaims that the average U.S. family will be paying more in health care over time, thanks to rising prescription drug prices (among other things). The trend with medical insurance isn’t so encouraging either. It seems that employers will be pushing more of their employees’ heath insurance costs on their workers.
More employers are passing the cost of health and medical care to their employees. Have you noticed that premiums, out-pocket-costs, deductibles, coinsurance costs and copayments are rising? Some studies show that employers are paying around 60% of these costs while employees are covering 40%.
With so much money spent on health, the best way to counteract this assault on our budgets is to preserve our health and well-being as much as possible. You can keep your medical and insurance bills in check by becoming more fit. Here are some tips I have on the subject:
Spend Less on a Simpler Life
First things first: take the stress out of your life. We’re a workaholic nation where vacations are not as popular as they are in other countries 😉 . We love chasing the Joneses and aspiring to fulfill the American Dream. All this results in our physical and mental exhaustion, and growing complexities in our lives, all for the greater glory of material wealth.
If your life is full to the brim and you are no longer able to stop and smell the roses, then you’re doing a number on your health. One of the first steps to better health is by gaining better control over your life. You can start by simplifying it. Doing so should bring down your stress levels and take some pressure off your system. Would you consider:
- Downsizing your life like some people have?
- Downsizing your home to deal with less expenditures and maintenance?
- Or just decluttering your surroundings?
We are told by health experts that the environment contains toxins that relentlessly invade our bodies and systems, and unfortunately, it’s something we can’t always control. For instance, we can often find ourselves exposed to vehicle fumes, smog and even second hand smoke any time we leave the comfort of our homes. Just visit a large city and you’re inhaling less than fresh air! Then there are chemicals in pesticide, home and beauty products (e.g. hair spray and cosmetics) and food (especially the non-organic kind). If you work in an old building, you could be facing the assault of toxic materials as well. We can’t escape our environment but one thing we can possibly control is the amount of stress we subject ourselves to. Stress impacts your body in the same way terrible toxins do, so do your best to avoid it.
Keep Yourself In Tip Top Shape By Developing Simple Habits
Besides watching what we eat, there are other ways to make sure we stay healthy.
#1 Watch your hygiene: wash your hands often.
Avoid getting sick by washing your hands often. Unless you don’t mind catching a bout of the cold or flu once in a while, or being a little dirty, which is actually good for you. I’ve had interesting conversations with a co-worker who advocates germs and infections as the way to better health in the long run. That’s because your body builds up its defenses and immune system by falling ill. But as a parent of a school-aged child I still don’t like catching annoying colds, plus getting sick often doesn’t seem to have improved my health. Besides, for some of us, a sick day means no pay.
#2 Toss the vices.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. It’s something you just cannot “nag” someone to do, since many a time, they’d rather take the chance and possibly face the consequences of their long term habits at a later time. After all, the reasoning goes, you can just as easily get run over by a bus than pick up health problems from some random vice. Nevertheless, sticking with an unhealthy vice has its risks. One other sticking point is how much you could actually save by giving up these extras.
#3 Visit your doctor for annual tests.
Those annual tests are covered by your health insurance or can be performed through free or low cost programs. Routine tests can catch problems early on before they develop into real trouble later. Don’t let it grow into a big issue that costs a lot to deal with.
#4 Sleep earlier.
Those times when I stayed up late or even all night to try to cram even more stuff into an already hectic day are now over. The body just won’t let me do those things anymore! And here’s the reason for improving your sleeping habits: your body heals and repairs itself and does its regulatory job while you’re snoozing. So give it the rest it deserves to keep you chugging along well the next day. A lifetime of bad sleeping habits will no doubt take a toll on you and this is one easy way to avoid getting sick.
#5 Lose weight.
There are a lot of ways to tackle this challenge, and many articles have been written to discuss all those strategies. But here are some of my favorite tips on how to lose weight frugally. Simply adapt good eating habits and you’ll drop the pounds!
Spend Less on Affordable Exercise
Get yourself moving with exercise. Who says we can’t lose weight or become healthier without the help of professional trainers or gym memberships? A lot of people find the extra motivation by signing up for classes, whether it be for dancing, weight training, yoga, tae-kwon-do or other forms of sport. And why not? Exercise can certainly be much more enjoyable in the company of others.
However, I’m one of those people who would rather do the requisite physical activity in the comfort and privacy of my home, where I’m also happy not to spend a dime. I’ve invested in a trusty stationary bike, which I’ve had over a decade and which functions as good as new despite the heavy use it gets 😉 . I’ve also personally invested in some other home gym equipment (weights, yoga mat, videos). But you should weigh the costs of buying exercise equipment against how much use and value you get out of them. Don’t waste your money on things you don’t use!
What’s nice about exercise is that most activities are pretty affordable. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to keep yourself active. Treat your body like a well-oiled machine and keep your metabolism humming and revved up by burning excess calories. You also don’t need to pay up to get moving. Even a brisk walk is considered quite healthy so if you can manage a regular exercise regimen comprised of sustained activity for 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week, then you should be in good shape.
Created May 28, 2007. Updated March 9, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.