When most people first begin to think about overhauling our finances or saving money, they usuallyfocus on issues such as budgeting, cash flow analysis, and how to improve a credit score. But almost all aspects of your life can affect your cash flow, directly or indirectly. It’s serendipitous when a life-change can not only improve the quality of your life, but also improve your bottom line. Believe it or not,exercise is one of those serendipitous, win-win changes you can make.
Here are four ways that even a moderate exercise program can save you money:
Exercise reduces anxiety and depression, potentially reducing the amount of money you spend on over-the-counter headache medicine, or your favorite alternative over-the-counter headache remedy if that is your preference. Some studies have shown that exercise is better for depression than some prescription medications (depending on your particular situation). Of course, I am not advocating giving up your anxiety or depression meds if you need them, you should not make changes in your medication routine without consulting your doctor. But if you are someone who gets occasional anxiety or depression, you may find that simply moving around can help you feel much better.
Exercise increases energy, potentially reducing the amount you spend for a caffeine fix, or for an afternoon sugar high (if that’s your preferred form of poison). It seems counter-intuitive to say that spending energy on exercise could actually increase the total amount of energy that you have. Yet many scientific studies show that this is so. In addition, exercising during the day helps you to sleep better at night – at that will make you feel more rested and energetic in the morning.
Exercise will help you to lose weight and/or cause your blood pressure to drop, which can reduce your expenses in several areas. If you are dependent on medication to reduce your blood pressure, and if you find that exercising regularly reduces your blood pressure significantly, you may find that the amount you spend on prescription medication also drops. Exercising can also reduce the amount you spend on health and life insurance. I know a woman in her 40s who exercises semi-regularly, eats a fruit and vegetable-based diet, and keeps her blood pressure fairly low. When she bought life insurance her agent quoted her one rate, but then had to reduce it by about $20 per month because her physical exam showed that she was at an ideal weight and her blood pressure was low.
Exercise itself doesn’t have to cost anything. You can go for a walk, or run in place indoors. You can do yoga using a video and a yoga mat, or, alternatively, nonslip socks. In fact, you can get many kinds of exercise videos free online – look for video podcasts such as Yoga Journal’s video podcast. You could even dance around your living room with your kids, or walk up and down your stairs (if you have some). Some forms of housework can be great exercise, too!
If you find that exercising helps to reduce your costs, go one step further (literally and metaphorically!) and take a look at improving your diet. Dietary changes can affect your bottom line (again, literally and metaphorically!) in much the same way that exercise can. Like exercise, good nutrition is a win-win situation – it will ease your budget and make you feel good, all at the same time. But that’s a topic for another day!
Pam Greene’s own journey to fitness started when a friend suffered through some health challenges. Realizing this was a wake up call to her to focus on her own health. She started to learn about Fitness, Nutrition and Healthy Weight Loss and the results were rewarding! Pam now works for Beachbody, which provides Home Fitness Programs and Work Out Dvds including the well known P90X exercise program. Pam is passionate about sharing tips to help others eat better and exercise for better health.