With all of the saving, investing, and personal finance that I focus on, it’s easy to neglect the other aspects. There are more important things than saving and investing (what?!) in life. Things such as family, relationships, time, happiness, ethical values, and most of all, health. Neglecting health could equate to thousands of dollars of medical bills. Our bodies depreciate as time passes. Therefore, why not take good care of it, which is potentially your greatest asset that you could have. Take care of your body so you can live longer. Not just longer, but better as well. Best of all, there are free activities that you can do to get more health. Sounds like a great deal to me!
For me personally, being in my early 20s, I feel invincible. My back doesn’t feel any pain after running in hard cement / rocky roads, soreness goes away after a day or two, and I overall feel fine. However, I can’t be complacent. In 10 or 20 years, I have no idea how I’ll turn out if I continue making the wrong choices.
I sometimes don’t stretch after my runs or after my workouts. Running puts a tremendous strain on my back, I just don’t feel it right now. I recognize that I have to change and make different choices to live a longer and better life.
The First Hit
I recently took a company sponsored blood test. I got paid $100 to take the test plus I avoid a penalty fee of $520 a year by doing so. So I did it! In the test, it turns out I have to keep an eye on a couple of areas. My LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind of cholesterol) is at 112 mg/dL (Milligrams per Deciliter).
The normal range for LDL cholesterol is from 0 – 99. My overall cholesterol is in the normal range (at 193 mg/dL when a normal range of 100-199 mg/dL). However, it doesn’t help if there are bad cholesterol lurking in my body. I’m also a small tug away from going towards the dangerous zone.
It’s scary. I’m only 21 years old (coming up 22 in Christmas Eve) and I’m having these problems. Therefore, I’m taking this as a lesson. That while I may be feeling fine, I may not be fine and that I’m not invincible as I think I am. I urge you to take care of your body no matter how old you are. It’s never too early or too late to start being healthier.
I’m much more conscious of what I buy at the grocery store now. I look at the nutritional values and make sure that a serving is not above 20% of the recommended cholesterol level. I regularly exercise so the problem lies in my food intake.
Ways to Better Your Health
1. Avoid Overeating
I have a big problem with eating because I eat everything and anything that I possibly can. I don’t let food settle in my stomach and I put food in my mouth after taking a gulp. Impatience is the reason why I don’t wait to take another bite. Therefore, I overeat to feel full. I didn’t realize it takes a good minute for the food to settle in my stomach. Overeating is not a good way to take care of your body.
I don’t have a weight problem, per se (I weigh 160 lbs and am 5′ 10 1/2”) but when I was in elementary, I had a beer belly without drinking any beer. It took a lot of work to get my weight down. Eating was so joyful! I had to learn not to be so impatient when eating.
2. Cook Often
When I moved halfway across the country for my job, I swore that I would learn at least 1 new recipe a month. I learned 2 new recipes in the past 3 months (coming up on 4 months) so I failed this goal. However, with the new recipes plus my legendary sandwich making skills, I cooked more often to bring to lunch.
I save so much money, better my health, and learn a few new recipe by cooking. The downside is that I have to spend time to cook, which takes time away from other activities but it’s so worth it to me! I’m glad that I’m cooking more often.
3. Exercise Regularly
I exercise 3 times a week, without fail. I don’t use a gym, but I use the outdoors to run, do push ups, squats, and other body weight exercises I can think of. It doesn’t cost anything to do so and I get to enjoy the outdoor fresh air, which can’t be beat.
Exercising regularly helps your body have more power and strength. Having more power and strength lets you be more conscious throughout the day and be more deliberate in your movements. You won’t go through the motions because you’ll be moving more consciously, with purpose, throughout the day.
Take Care of Your Body and Reap Rewards
Reward #1. More Money
Your employer might sponsor an employee health initiative. I’m grateful that my company is so invested in their employee’s health that they pay us potentially an extra $1800 a year if we exercise regularly and complete healthy activities throughout the year. It’s great that the company recognizes that taking care of their employee’s health is aligned with their own interests, as well.
Also, being physically active helps with your personal finances by letting you be more alert, happy, and have less stress. This leads to being a better person to be around and having much more time to spend throughout the day. Your body is one of your greatest weapon to use during your personal finance pursuits, it only makes sense to take care of your greatest weapon!
Reward #2. Better Sleep
Sleep intensity increases if your body feels that it needs to ramp up its resting efforts. This means that if you needed 8 hours of sleep before you might only need 7.5 hours of sleep. I sleep so much more soundly at night and even though I might need less sleep, I sleep the same amount anyways.
It recharges me, which I desperately need to avoid drinking coffee. It’s also phenomenal and interesting that spending an hour working out could save you an extra 30 minutes. It’s like spending your time at a discount or spending your time to get more time. By taking care of your body exercising, you take care of your body in your sleep (literally).
One thing that I do note is that it’s advisable not to work out at least 3 hours before you are going to sleep. Doing so ruins your chances of falling asleep quickly and could frustrate you (it frustrates me, at least). I usually work out in the evenings after work between 5:45 – 6:45PM and sleep around 10:30 – 11:00PM.
Reward #3 More Energy
If you have an office job like I do, sitting at a desk all day, your body craves to release the energy that it stored up throughout the day. By releasing that energy more than usual through working out, your body adds more energy to the energy reserve the next day to prepare for the sudden increase in energy need.
Therefore, it makes sense that your energy level is increased by taking care of your health. More energy means more time to do more stuff. Whether it’s to relax and recharge or putting in an extra 15 minutes at work, you now have more time!
With my blood test results in, I’m more aware of what I put into my body and if I’m exercising or not. I don’t want to have significant regrets when I’m in my 30s or 40s, which is why I’m much more aware. I want to build a great foundation for the future. Therefore, I will make decisions today that my future self will be glad that I made those choices. The current me has some words to say to my past self but that won’t change anything. The best that I can do is change things that I can control today.
You should take care of your body because it’s the greatest weapon that you will use to your advantage in the personal finance world or in life. It depreciates over time and we can’t control it. Why not look for ways to stall that depreciation for as long as you possibly can?!
Readers, do you take care of your body? Do you agree that taking care of your body helps with your personal finances? Let me know in the comments below.
My goal is to enable your success in personal finance so that you can realize the American dream. The first step is starting today!
Read more about me here.