Money Talks–The Best Exercise Incentive Yet

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Increasing the cash in your pocket is serious incentive for getting fit and healthy.

For some, losing weight and getting back into shape isn’t enough motivation to work out and eat healthy. They think about it, and they’d like to be thinner and feel better in general, but the thought of doing the work or depriving themselves of favorite foods stops them even before they get started. If you’re one of those who need more incentive to finally act on your intentions to start a fitness exercise program and get healthy, consider all the ways that doing so will positively affect your budget. Ah, money talks!

Eating Healthy Saves $$$

You don’t have to give up eating out. Just save that for dinner excursions once a week or so, and cook at home the rest of the week.

Eating healthy will save you money on day one. When you prepare your breakfasts and lunches at home instead of grabbing a quick bite at the diner or from a fast food drive-thru, you’ll have an extra $50 or more each month. Cut out the candy bars, sodas and other vending machine “treats” during the day, and your savings go up. Yes, you’ll still need to eat breakfast and lunch, and no one says you can’t snack at all if you’re not eating chips or slurping a frappĂ©. Your healthier alternatives, though, will be less expensive because microwaving an egg and a half (one full egg plus one egg white), seasoning it with a sprinkle of Italian seasoning and sliding it between two halves of a whole-grain bagel costs less — and is tastier — than buying a breakfast sandwich at a convenience store or fast food joint.

The Department of Health and Human Services offers some tips for making sure you save money when you opt to ditch the restaurant scene and eat healthier. For instance, plan your meals and make a list, then stick to it when shopping. Buy in bulk and buy in season, and plan your meals according to what you have on hand. Also, cook at least two large meals each week, so you have healthy leftovers for the rest of the week.

Fewer Doctor Bills

Working out boosts your immune system, cutting down on doctor’s visits and saving money.

You won’t get sick as often if you start a workout program, so you won’t have as many doctor’s visits to pay for. According to ACE Fitness, studies have shown that people who engage in a moderate exercise program on a regular basis see immediate, positive effects on their immunity, but they also get cumulative effects for long-term strong immunity. One study ACE references showed that simply walking at a moderately fast pace for as little as 40 minutes a day cuts the occurrence of sore throats and colds in half.

What’s more, a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association found that exercise can put a huge chunk of change back into your pocket. Depending on whether you’re already fairly healthy or if you have a serious health issue such as heart disease, exercising can save anywhere between $500 to $2,500 each year on medical expenses. That’s like getting paid to exercise.

Save Money on Meds

Medications are expensive, but working out can reduce or even eliminate the need for prescriptions.

The CDC says that lack of exercise is linked to chronic diseases that force patients to rely on daily medication to function and survive. These include heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The solution is exercising to reduce or even eliminate your need for some medications. Building muscle through exercise reduces your chances of incurring injuries requiring painkillers, but the endorphins released while you exercise along with getting your blood flowing to all parts of your body act as natural painkillers. The endorphins also act as natural anti-depressants, too.

A workout program that includes resistance training and cardio exercise will keep your heart healthy, reducing your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. As mentioned above, that can save you money on medical care expenses as well as medications but other diseases can be avoided or even reversed with exercise. According to Dr. Mercola, research has shown that exercise and healthy eating can help control and in some cases even reverse diabetes, eliminating the need for costly insulin. A vigorous fitness exercise program will help you sleep better, too, saving you money on prescription or OTC sleep medications.

Curb Your Clothing Budget

Working out maintains your weight, so no more constantly shopping for new clothes in different sizes.

When you exercise regularly, your clothing will fit better and last longer because your clothing size won’t be constantly changing. Reader’s Digest Best Health points out that once you lose weight, you should splurge on a few new outfits for your new physique, but don’t hold onto your bigger clothes. The plan is not to need them in the future. Instead, donate them to Goodwill or another charity store. Not having your “fat pants” in the closet to fall back on will be valuable incentive to maintain your trimmer figure–plus, the donation is tax deductible. Cha-ching!

Save on Transportation Costs

Save gas and parking money and get your cardio at the same time!

Exercising will increase your endurance along with your fitness, and that suddenly makes alternative transportation not only doable, but logical. You’ll be capable of walking and biking to places including work, grocery shopping, or a friend’s house. Walking and biking everywhere may not be feasible all the time but even if you do it a few times a week, you’ll save money on gas and parking as well as wear and tear on your car. Plus, you can count your commute toward your weekly cardio exercise — score!

Advance Your Career

Getting fit can increase your income by improving your job performance and overall outlook on life.

You don’t have to work in the fitness industry for your health and fitness workout plan to positively affect your career, and that will do more than save you money — it will increase your income. Personal trainer Julia Derek points out that the health benefits of working out are important for self-employed people because it reduces sick days as well as making you stronger so you can give your business serious effort and attention. Even if you are salaried or punching the time clock for an employer, if you aren’t fit and healthy you’ll tend to be depressed and tired more than those who exercise regularly. When you don’t feel good mentally and physically, your job performance suffers and, don’t kid yourself, your boss will notice. On the other hand, if you’re energetic, happy and mentally alert, you’ll perform at peak and be on the fast-track for raises and promotions.

Won’t Getting Fit and Healthy Cost Me Money?

Up until now, maybe part of your excuse for not getting fit and healthy was that you think it costs money to do it “right.” It’s true that you could fork out some serious cash to hire a trainer, join the most expensive health club, and/or outfit your home with home fitness equipment, but none of that is necessary. There are plenty of home gym equipment options that cost less than $400 and offer a wide range of exercises to give you the most for your money. However, there are tons of cardio exercises and ones for building muscle that don’t require specialized equipment — and some don’t need any fitness equipment at all.

TargitFit class

Splitting the cost of a personal trainer with others helps make fitness more affordable.

As for the expensive personal trainer, you have access to the public library and the world wide web. You have all the health and fitness knowledge in the world at your disposal. Keep in mind, though, that some health clubs and even free-agent personal trainers offer group training sessions that allow more than one person to split the cost of the trainer’s time. That gives everyone the benefit of working out with a personal trainer without the high price tag. Investing in one or two group training sessions will give you some starter knowledge and experience to fuel your money-saving workout plan. Just imagine how great it will feel to watch your waistline shrink while your bank balance expands.

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