When you think about the value of your home, the value of your car, your bank account or your 401k, you probably add it up to know what your worth, right? There’s a number attached to all of that value.
What about the value of good health? While we don’t typically attach a dollar sign to our health, the reality is, your finances and your health are closely linked.
Your weight matters and in fact, may increase expenses. In a 2013 study by Duke, researchers tracked health care spending by body mass index levels. The average annual cost for a person with a low BMI of 19 was $2,541. With a BMI of 25 considered overweight, it was $2,893. At a BMI of 33 which is deemed obese, the cost was $3,439.
Stress matters. Higher stress is linked to absenteeism which can impact job performance and impact yours and your employers bottom line. A global survey by Willis Towers Watson linked higher stress to higher absenteeism. Stress also seems to affect food preferences. Numerous studies — granted, many of them in animals — have shown that physical or emotional distress increases the intake of food high in fat, sugar, or both. Stressed people also lose sleep, exercise less, and drink more alcohol, all of which can contribute to excess weight.
If you want to retire sooner, poor health just might force you into it. According to research, 55% of those who retire early cite poor health or disability. Now that certainly impacts your financial life, doesn’t it?
Fit and healthy living means you can cut health care costs, be at the top of your game at work, and stay employed longer, all having the likelihood of increasing your retirement cash. Improving your health can boost your bottom line.
Here are a few ways to live with vitality long-term and add value not only to your health life but your financial life as well:
Meditate - wherever you look you’ll find studies that show mediation reduces stress. Being mindful may also help you to be more mindful overall including food choices, reducing those stress impulse, sugary comfort food binges.
Exercise - vigorous exercise may blunt some of the negative effects of stress while low intensity activities like yoga and tai chi, combine both exercise and meditation.
Eat Healthy - simply put, putting better food fuel into your body helps you to more easily remove the toxins that naturally build up. It also helps reduce your chance for disease and improves your chances of managing disease possibly avoiding a costly hospital stay due to illness.
Exercise your Brain - studies have shown reading may help fight Alzheimer’s disease. Reading puts your brain to work. Those who who engage their brains through activities such as reading, chess, or puzzles could be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who spend their down time on less stimulating activities. Reading can help you relax and reduce stress. A 2009 study by Sussex University researchers showed that reading may reduce stress by as much as 68 percent!
Sources: Harvard Health Publications - Harvard Medical School, Money Magazine, Willis Towers Watson Global Survey, Duke University Research