Did I catch your attention? No, I’m not talking about selling yourself. I do, however, want you to think of your body as a financial asset.
Whenever I see blogs or articles about planning for your future, I usually read some similar tips:
- Invest in a 401(k) or IRA.
- Create an emergency fund.
- Pay off your debt.
- Create a budget.
These are great tips and are definitely worth doing. What I don’t think most people realize though is that you can lose all of that if you don’t take care of yourself.
Of course, some things can’t be helped. If you are injured in a car accident, that is something you can’t control. However, there are things you can control that many of us take for granted; we often don’t realize how preventable health issues can affect our finances.
One important thing you can do to stay healthy and prevent disease is that awful, dirty, word – exercise. I know you’ve heard it a million times, but the benefits are tremendous. Although it won’t cure cancer, there are some things that just walking for 30 minutes a day can help prevent or even reverse:
- Type II Diabetes. This is the most preventable, yet costly and debilitating disease out there. I know this because my father and one of my coworkers have it. My coworker, who is only 55, had to quit his job because the disease took away his eyesight. The majority of his money has gone to medical expenses and now he can’t even work to make up the difference. Walking helps to moderate blood sugar levels.
- Heart Disease. This is still the number one killer of men and women. Not everyone just has a heart attack and dies, however. Many people have cardiac issues for years and spend thousands of dollars just trying to stay alive. Walking increases your heart rate and strengthens the muscle so it stays stronger longer.
- High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol. My father also has these two issues in addition to his diabetes. He’s been on medication for these problems for over 10 years now and he’s only 64. When you exercise, your blood vessels dilate, which maintains good blood pressure, and good cholesterol removes the bad cholesterol from the blood stream, lowering bad cholesterol levels.
- Weight. Obesity currently carries many health issues that are still being discovered. Aside from what is mentioned above, overeating has been linked to certain cancers, along with joint and nerve issues. If you ever watch “The Biggest Loser,” many contestants find they have reversed all of the health issues listed above just by losing part or most of the weight they gained.
While genetics also play a factor in all of these health issues, you can still avoid many of them by taking care of yourself. Aside from exercise, it’s a good idea to get annual physicals. If you don’t have health insurance, look into free clinics in your area.
Most people say they don’t want to die healthy, and I understand what they mean. But being sick for a long period of time puts a huge strain on finances. My Godfather walked 5 – 10 miles every day when he retired. At the age of 85, he took a nap one afternoon and passed away peacefully in his sleep. That’s how I want to go. No medical debt and no burden to my family. This may sound morbid, but I hope you get to do the same.
Cheryl Bigos graduated from a CareOne Debt Relief Services Debt Management Plan (DMP) in 2008. She is now blogging about life as a DMP graduate in the My Journey out of Debt blog. She works as a Purchasing Manager in Los Angeles, teaches Pilates, and lives with her boyfriend of four years. Cheryl is looking forward to sharing what she has learned from her experience in the DMP and after! Look for great tips about life ‘after’ debt! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.