7 Tips to help you get physically and financially fit
Stay healthy and consider increasing your savings with these resolutions.
There are plenty of good reasons to get physically fit, but here's one you may not have considered: It could add to your bottom line.
Committing to a healthier lifestyle and avoiding unhealthy habits may help you reduce your health care costs and save money. Better still, you can divert those dollars to an emergency fund or your retirement savings.
Consider starting now.
It can make sense to establish good habits to maintain physical and financial health early.
"If you don't start developing smart money management at a young age, it becomes difficult to catch up," says Neil Simons, president of Independent Benefit Services. "Similarly, by developing healthy habits when you're young, you can cut health care costs in your senior years."
Young people are off to a good start: 56 percent of Gen Y employees rate themselves as financially healthy.1 To maintain that financial strength—as well as your physical health—try incorporating these seven habits into your routine:
- Stop smoking. Supporting this habit comes at a hefty cost, and it could make you a less attractive job candidate. Research in Tobacco Control journal shows smokers cost employers around $6,000 more each year than nonsmokers.
- Schedule a physical. Just as you should regularly review your finances, you also should stay on top of your health to minimize threats to your wellness. Keep immunizations up to date (PDF: 207 KB), and talk to your doctor about when to begin scheduling health screenings.
- Lose weight. Shedding pounds could fatten your wallet. Research from George Washington University (PDF: 350 KB) found being obese costs women an extra $4,879 annually, and men an extra $2,646.
- Exercise often. The Centers for Disease Control recommends getting two hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise weekly, plus muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days. Take advantage of the savings if your employer has an on-site gym or offers membership discounts.2
- Eat healthy. Use fresh ingredients and plenty of fruits and vegetables, and pay attention to portion sizes. Limit the number of times you eat out each week. That helps you save money as well as keeps your healthy food choices in check.
- Sleep more. Stay alert and productive by getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. For better sleep avoid caffeine or alcohol before bed, keep your room dark, quiet and cool, and start winding down an hour before bedtime.
- Stress less. Stress can have costly physical and mental effects. Practice stress reduction tactics such as yoga or meditation. Getting your finances in shape also can ease stress.
Make this resolution.
Find out how even small adjustments to your savings habits can help you with your financial health using My Principal® Edge Milestones retirement planning tool.
1 The Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM 1st Quarter 2013: http://www.principal.com/wellbeing/2013/2013Q1-wbi-workers-report.pdf
2 Always consult with your doctor prior to starting an exercise routine.