There are a number of compelling reasons to get off the couch and get into shape. It will help you look and feel great, your clothes will fit better and it will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and bone loss. But there is another, often overlooked, benefit. Becoming physically fit can actually save you money. How much money? Well, it varies by individual, but it is safe to say that you can potentially save enough money to fully cover your gym membership and then some!
Listed below are four ways that becoming physically fit can fatten up your wallet while slimming down your waistline.
1. Save Money on Food
There is absolutely a financial benefit to eating healthier. This may seem counterintuitive when you think about the cost of organic fresh produce and unprocessed meats. Sure, a dinner of baked chicken with a side salad is going to cost more to make than a bowl of ramen noodles, but which is more likely to fill you up so you are not eating again an hour later? Done right, the amount of money you spend on food is bound to decrease.
Ann Wilson, fitness coach and co-owner of Curves® of Bethel Park, PA, helps a number of clients plan out healthy menus for the week, complete with a comprehensive grocery shopping list. “When you know exactly how much perishable food you need to do all your cooking and food prep for the week, you are far less likely to throw away food because it has gone bad," she states. “Besides that, losing weight and feeling better, both physically and mentally, add a value far beyond the money savings. A healthy lifestyle is worth its weight in gold!”
Additionally, many people who are working toward getting fit and losing weight elect to eat at home instead of out at restaurants, as they have more control over the ingredients and preparation methods. If you do go out, ordering smaller portions and skipping dessert will lower the total on the check.
2. Save Money on Health Care
Regardless of how much or how little your particular health insurance policy costs, you can save money on medical costs by getting into and staying in shape. This is because those who are physically fit tend to get sick less often and are far less likely to suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Save at the pharmacy: Even if your insurance policy subsidizes your medication costs, you will still be paying a portion of the bill. Fewer illnesses mean fewer medications, and this means more money in your wallet.
- Save at the doctor’s office: Because those who are physically fit are better equipped to fight off illnesses, they spend less time getting medical treatment. Instead of shelling out copays to your primary care physician or your local urgent care facility, you can use that money to buy a new pair of workout shoes.
- Save at the chiropractor: Those are who are not physically fit and do not engage in stretching or weight-bearing exercises on a regular basis are more likely to suffer from chronic back pain and other muscle ailments. You are far less likely to run to the chiropractor or to a physical therapist if you make exercise a regular part of your daily routine.
3. Increase Your Income Potential
Achieving physical fitness can lead to a bigger paycheck. Don’t believe me? Consider this. In a study done at Cleveland State University, researcher Vasilios Kosteas found that adults who exercised three times a week earned about 9% more than those who did not exercise.
There are a number of reasons why this might be so. For starters, exercise is known to boost your mental function, energy levels and overall mood. This can lead to greater productivity and interpersonal skills. Furthermore, people who are in good physical shape tend to be more confident and this can make it easier for them to negotiate higher starting salaries and raises.
People who are physically fit also tend to have stronger immune systems and are therefore more likely to fight off illnesses that are going around. For those who do not get paid sick time, fewer illnesses results in more time spent earning money. If you are one of the lucky ones who can accumulate and cash in sick time, being consistently healthy can lead to a financial windfall.
4. Save Money on Life Insurance Premiums
There are a number of factors that go into calculating your life insurance rates. Some of the most influential are whether or not you smoke, your BMI, your blood pressure and the results of blood work, including your cholesterol levels and liver enzyme readings.
Brian H. Ashe, CLU and treasurer of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), advises that consumers can save as much as 50% on their life insurance rates just by getting themselves into good physical shape. That can add up to significant savings over the life of your policy.
That is not to say that you should put off purchasing life insurance until you have reached your fitness goals. In many cases, if you manage to get into shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle for more than one year, you can appeal to your insurance provider for reduced rates. You can contact your local Trusted Choice® independent agent to learn more about negotiating reduced rates on your life insurance.