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Investing in yourself is often dubbed the greatest investment you can make and with good reason. The returns on investment you can enjoy from self-education, travelling and goal setting are immense.
The best part about investing in yourself is it often requires very little capital. With an internet connection or book you can learn, with a bit of research you can travel on the cheap and with a pen and paper you can set goals. All of these activities have the potential to improve your financial future. However, this blog will focus on the financial benefits which stem from staying fit and looking after your health.
Just like many other forms of self-investment, staying fit does not require a huge amount of financial investment. Of course, if you want to, you can buy an expensive gym membership, fancy trainers & employ an Instagram influencer to provide you with an over-priced meal plan. However, if you’d like to grow your wallet whilst you shrink your waist, you can do that too, especially over the long term.
So, how can you stay in great shape without draining your bank account?
Before we get into staying fit on the cheap, keep in mind that if you’re looking to improve your health and fitness, there will be a queue of people waiting to take your money. Your Google searches about fitness will track your cookies (not the edible kind) and soon be showing you trainer/meal plan/protein powder/gym membership adverts everywhere you look online, so get your guard up. Fitness is a multi-trillion dollar industry. But you can also get fit without spending.
People also often feel they need to start a process by buying new trainers or signing up to a gym to help mark the beginning of the process. If that’s you too, start small and think about what you can do without spending money. Whilst you’re getting fit on the cheap, pin up these shiny trainers on your fridge door as a progress reward for yourself that you can buy once you’ve gained some momentum.
So, back to it. How can you stay fit on the cheap?
Simple as it gets. When you can walk, do it. Interestingly researchers found that dog owners are normally fitter than gym membership owning non-dog-owners. Because walking your dog gets you on average 8 hours per week of FREE physical activity.
Excluding the cost of getting a bike, cycling to work is a fantastic way to stay fit and potentially save money if you take a taxi or drive to work.
People who live in urban areas often have to get an escalator or elevator on a daily basis. This is a great opportunity to add activity to your day. Even if you work on the 38th floor, you can just get out a few floors lower and walk to the top.
Easy one. WhatsApp Group, add friends, a game of football, frisbee, baseball or whatever takes your fancy.
Joe Wix kept the UK active during the COVID-19 lockdown with his home workouts. But he’s not the only person sharing free workout content online. YouTube is home to thousands of free home workout classes. Get searching.
If you prefer to work out with others, running clubs are a great way to meet people and stay fit, normally for free. Have a look on Facebook for a group near you.
This one isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a competent swimmer and live near the ocean, get down to the beach and get swimming. Sea swimming burns more calories than pool swimming due to the currents & temperature.
It’s not just for kids in the playground and professional boxers. Skipping is exhausting and the perfect way to get fit without needing much space or investment. Buy yourself a rope for $3 and you’re ready to go. See if you can skip for a minute straight without stopping or tripping and build from there.
Depending on where you live, you might have a nearby outdoor free gym. These are perfect places to start working and getting yourself some fresh air. You’ll probably meet some great people there too.
It’s amazing what people give away for free. Check out your local classified pages to see what you can get your hands on to build your very own fitness studio.
So now we’ve covered the ways in which you can get fit without spending any money, it’s time to look at why staying fit is such a lucrative investment for now and for the future.
In a recent study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine), people who stay more physically active can save thousands as they age.
The researchers discovered that adults who maintained moderate amounts of physical activity saved $1,350 annually on healthcare spending.
Interestingly the research found that those who maintained the highest levels of physical activity vs moderate ended up spending more on health care. This was attributed to extreme levels of exertion causing adverse health effects long term.
It’s not revolutionary research, but it does drum home an important message. Those who let their health slip are far more likely to develop potentially lethal and definitely costly health complications including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer & type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that those with diabetes incur an average of $16,752 annually in disease-management expenses.
Insurance: Health life & critical illness insurance gradually gets more expensive by the day, but the moment you’re diagnosed with a serious illness the price will jump. Those who stay healthy are less likely to have high insurance premiums due to the lower likelihood of developing serious illnesses. You can easily double your insurance premiums by developing self-inflicted health problems.
Missed work: If you’re self-employed or you don’t get sick pay from work, getting sick can be very costly. A few extra sick days each year can add up and end up costing you a big chunk of yoursincome.
The American Heart Association published a report claiming that the average annual saving over a lifetime for someone who is active is $2,500 per annum. That’s a lot!
If you invested that $2,500 every year for 10 years and achieved 8% per annum you would have $45,338 by year ten. If you leave it alone, stop adding to the pot and continue to achieve 8% for another 20 years you’ll have $223,411. That’s well worth staying fit for.
Fitness isn’t expensive, not staying in shape is!
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