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The classic idiom “money doesn’t buy happiness” is often repeated, but anyone who’s hard up for cash will tell you they’d rather be rich than poor. Still, there are things money can’t buy, your health being one of them. This article will look at the connection between fitness and finances.
The Connection Between Financial Health and Fitness
More money is printed every day, and there are plenty of ways to make more of it. But, having a lot of money won’t solve your physical or mental health problems. Fortunately, the reverse is often true. People who are physically and mentally fit are more likely to be financially secure.
According to a BT Financial Group survey, 34% of people who rated their financial situation as “below average” considered themself physically unfit compared to 9% of physically fit people.
It’s also clear that financial stress can create a negative feedback loop. Someone who’s worried about their finances will spend less time or money on healthcare or gym memberships. This makes a person’s health worse. The worse a person feels, the less likely they are to work out.
How Does Financial Health Impact Our Physical Health?
Financial health or well-being describes the state of your finances. A financially healthy person is able to pay for their necessities, save for retirement, and have extra cash left over. If you can spend wisely, you’ll avoid incurring too much debt or make better choices when utilizing debt.
For example, a financially secure person can access low-rate loans and high-interest savings accounts. Unfortunately, most Americans aren’t financially literate, but it isn’t their fault. Our feelings around money aren’t largely influenced by our options, family, and education system.
Whether we’re stressed about money due to our wages, poor spending habits, or lack of care, 72% of adults feel stressed about money most of the time, and prolonged stress can cause:
- Depression, anxiety, and PTSD-like symptoms
- Fatigue, sleeplessness, and insomnia
- Headaches due to stress or general poor health
- Weakened immune system and more colds
- A reliance on unhealthy coping mechanisms, like junk food or drugs
- Unexplained or explained weight gain or weight loss
- Flare-ups of current chronic health conditions
To make matters worse, financial stress prevents you from visiting the doctor for preventative check-ups. You may wait until you’re too sick to work, which costs you more in the long term.
How Can Fitness Improve Your Financial Well-Being?
Exercise is a well-known stress reducer, and it’s worth it to explore how to build a home gym on a budget.
Once you start and stick to a workout routine, you’ll notice the following changes.
1. Exercise Improves Your Overall Health
A daily cardio or strength training routine will soothe your anxious mind. Exercise is a proven way to address depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. That’s because movement releases feel-good chemicals, like serotonin and endorphins, that help improve your mood.
2. Exercise Help Improve Your Concentration
Stress can make it difficult to concentrate, but exercise can do a lot to improve your focus. Not only can it pose as a needed distraction, but it also releases dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which helps us pay attention. These chemicals will help you perform better on the job.
3. Exercise Can Give You More Energy
When you initially start working out, you’ll probably feel really tired. Eventually, the pendulum swings in the other direction because you’re training your body to store more energy. Plus, exercise helps you sleep better, and sleep can do wonders for your health and productivity.
4. Exercise Makes You More Disciplined
Our money issues are sometimes the result of poor discipline. However, exercise can teach you to delay immediate satisfaction for a future goal. It also makes you think about how your other choices could impact your fitness goals. For example, what you eat and how long you sleep.
5. Exercise May Reduce Your Healthcare Costs
If you’re eating healthy and exercising daily, you’ll notice that you won’t spend as much on healthcare. While exercise can’t fix all physical or mental health conditions, it can elevate some of their symptoms. You’ll likely spend fewer days in chronic pain, which is definitely a positive.
5 Steps to Take to Improve Your Physical and Financial Health
Being in great physical health will improve your finances, but what should you work on first?
It’s a good idea to improve your physical and mental health before tackling your money issues.
1. Stick to a Fun and Manageable Fitness Plan
Simple and moderate exercise will put you in the right mental space to figure out your finances. If you’re new to fitness, stick to cost-effective activities you love, like jogging, walking, or skipping rope. Consider taking your workout outside, so you can benefit from the fresh air.
2. Add a Good Amount of Healthy Food to Your Diet
Exercise alone won’t improve your overall health. If you don’t maintain a healthy diet, you will find it difficult to get up and move. With that said, you don’t have to remove junk food from your diet altogether, but you should eat more whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
3. Consider Speaking to a Mental Health Professional
Looking after your mental health will positively impact the other parts of your life. A mental health professional can help you manage your stress, anxiety, and anger in a safe and effective way. Look for inexpensive counseling options instead of going without healthcare.
4. Create a Budget, Build Savings, and Get Out of Debt
Budgeting is one of the best things you can do to become financially fit. Once you know how much you spend (or can spend) each month, you can start saving for an emergency. If you have debt, try to pay more than the minimum or consolidate it into a lower-interest loan.
5. Speak to a Financial Professional if Necessary
Contact a financial professional if you don’t know how to make a budget, build a healthy credit score, or look for passive income streams that provide more cash flow. On the other hand, you can look for free resources online. Only take investment advice from financial experts.