How to Save Money by Getting Fit and Losing Weight
Health is our most precious asset. There are known ways to help us live longer and healthier lives. With a proper approach we can also save money as we get fitter and lose unwanted weight. With these three important goals in mind (saving money, getting fit and losing weight) you are ready to make permanent changes in your life that will pay dividends for years to come.
Learn More about Nutrition and Weight Management
Learn about nutrition and weight management from the most reliable research available in the world: the U.S. Government's "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010." This study is updated every five years. The 2010 edition is fantastic, with chapter after chapter of excellent information and guidelines covering nutrition, weight management, physical activity, food groups to encourage, etc. Download this study (see Resources section) and print it out. Then read it multiple times, especially the Executive Summary (four pages) and the six chapters (about 59 pages). It will probably change your life!
Learn More about Physical Activity and Fitness
Learn about the Physical Activity and Public Health Guidelines published jointly by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) in 2007. Their recommendations on physical activity/exercise are the most heavily researched and documented anywhere. Always learn from the best when you can. They have one set of recommendations for healthy adults under 65 and another for adults 65 plus (or 50-64 with chronic conditions). Download these 2007 recommendations and print them out for serious study. These, too, could change your life. Also see the more recent 2008 Physical Activity guidelines for Americans.
Study the Key Documents on Fitness and Nutrition
Resolve to study these key documents and to construct a one-year plan for yourself that will enhance your health and save you money. Below are several specific tips that you can incorporate into your plan.
Change Your Food Shopping Habits
Most important is to change your food shopping habits. If you are like most people, if it's in the house you'll be eating it. So stop buying cookies, cakes, chips, other sweet and salty snacks and desserts of all kinds on a regular basis. Special occasions are OK, though. Substitute fruits and vegetables for snacks and desserts. This strategy will save you lots of money over a year and you'll be eating more healthful foods as well.
Develop a Realistic Exercise Plan
Come up with an exercise plan and get your doctor's OK before you start on it. An exercise plan should include aerobic exercise (top priority), resistance exercise (priority two), and flexibility exercise. All three forms of exercise are important. Then make your exercise program one of the main priorities in your life. You KNOW how important it is to health. Just do it, as my mother use to tell me (long before Nike).
Develop a Walking Habit
For most people, walking can be the best choice of aerobic exercise because it is the easiest to maintain, has the lowest injury rate, and is as cheap as a pair of decent walking shoes. Its only drawback is that it takes more time than running, cycling, etc. Take your walks with others when possible so that you can be talking and planning as you're getting fitter. But get out there!
Exercise is the Magic Pill of Preventive Medicine
As those who have studied exercise physiology know, exercise is the magic pill that helps every system and organ in the body to get healthier. That includes our hearts and our brains. That's why exercise can save you a ton of money and helps you avoid years of pain -- because it makes you a lot healthier and reduces hospitalizations and other medical expenses. It not only increases longevity, it dramatically enhances the quality of life. But, of course, you have to do it!
Eat Less (but Better) and Exercise More
Implement your new exercise and eating plans and take stock of yourself after just one year. You'll like the result and you'll have more money. But don't stop after one year. The changes you've made should go on as long as you do.
Eating fewer calories and increasing your physical activity are the keys to weight control. Physical activity including exercise is the best prescription for health and longevity.
Always check with your doctor to get medical clearance before beginning or dramatically changing an exercise plan.