This is a topic I have wanted to explore for some time now. We are always being told how we need to improve our health – be more active and eat healthily. All of these campaigns by charities and government public health departments are always saying that we could live a longer and better quality life if we follow a few easy steps. While this is true, it could have a beneficial effect on your bank balance.
Be more active
The NHS advises that we should aim to be physically active everyday, any activity is better than none, for at least 150 minuses a week (2.5 hours). The more active we are the more healthy our bodies will become. Maintaining an active lifestyle will maintain bone, muscle and joint strength potentially reducing the impact of illness or even preventing it.
By preventing illness you can boost your finances as you will require less sick days, and have more time to work on your finances. Additionally, you will save money on medical expenses such as prescriptions, mobility aids and doctors notes (many GPs charge for doctors notes for work). Also, by maintaining your bone, muscle and joint strength you are less likely to suffer injury or ill health while at work, e.g. when lifting or moving things.
According to the Health and Safety Executive 480,000 people in the UK suffer musculoskeletal injuries or ill health while at work. The two main causes of this are manual handling (lifting or moving items) or sitting incorrectly for long periods of time. Maintaining your activity levels and following guidance will reduce the risk or ill health.
So how can you be more active? Never underestimate walking more, walk to the shop if you can instead of driving. You can run, do home workouts via YouTube or just go for regular walks with a friend.
Eat more healthy food
Now I am not going to say that you need to eat loads of super foods, or give up meat and follow a vegan lifestyle. I am not about that line of thought. But that being said, we as a country do need to make more healthy choices when it comes to what we eat.
In 2018 a UK study found that 63% of all adults are either overweight or obese. Being overweight can increase your chances of illness including heart disease, diabetes cancer etc. With the increased risk of illness is also the increased risk of injury and time off work. Additionally, increased risks of illness also means increase costs of healthcare including appointments and medication.
While you can become more active as explored above, if your diet is still poor it won’t make much of an impact. The key here is to take a series of smaller steps rather than a big sharp change. You are more likely to maintain a healthier lifestyle over the long term with gradual changes.
So what changes could you make? First thing, stop eating takeaway food. I would say its okay to have around 1 a month but anymore should be avoided. Takeaways while being bad for your health, are also bad for your bank. A meal for 1 that you spent £7-10 could have cost around £2 in the shop. Even substituting takeaway foods for cheep oven foods (e.g. chicken and chips with canned vegetables) could make a huge difference.
Top tip – canned fruit and vegetables are just as good as fresh, have a longer shelf life and are very cheap!
Don’t forget about mental health
In this current climate of national lockdowns, maintaining good mental health is of increasing concern. Many households are or have been isolated for long periods of time. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year.
Anxiety and depression, just two very common conditions, can become crippling and lead to difficulty in carry out day to day activities. The key is to discovering your coping mechanisms, the things you do to deal with any mental health conditions. One thing I will say though is doing the above, being more active and eating healthy, will go a long way to helping.
Two other thinks I have found to work are keep in contact with friends and family, and set yourself goals to work towards. If, like now, you find yourself isolated reach out to family and friends to talk to. It doesn’t have to be much just a phone call, but it could progress into weekly activities such as quizzes. By setting goals you are giving yourself something to work towards, a reason to get up in the morning. Be it as simple as washing your clothes, or blogging regularly, it could end up being a motivation to find an additional income source.
Every way I look at it, it is more expensive to be unhealthy. There is every benefit to looking after yourself physically as well as financially, and you might find it easier to look after your money.