Healthy habits that can save you money

Chronic illness and disease can, in most cases, be traced back to toxic lifestyles and long-term unhealthy habits. Small changes made over time can significantly contribute to a healthier – and more financially stable – you in the future says health and wellness expert, Lisa Raleigh.

Costs of unhealthy habits

–       Smoking is a money-cruncher. Kick your habit to the curb and your net worth will, on average, be twice that of heavy smokers.

–       The healthier you are, the lower your premiums for health and life insurance. Healthy individuals – compared to their overweight and smoking peers – are rewarded with insurance discounts for healthier habits and fewer claims.

–       Health costs relating to being overweight or obese have been estimated to cost the individual an average R6500-R10 000 each year.

–       Chronic health issues can rack up serious pharmacy bills, with repeat costs of prescription drugs, chronic medication and hospital visits. Household finances suffer as a result, with pensions and other long-term savings decreasing in value.

–       Physical health contributes significantly to mood stability, sleeping patterns, concentration, memory and better managed stress levels. This in turn directly affects work performance and capabilities, influencing possibility for promotion, progression and ultimately higher incomes.

Healthier habits for more financial freedom

–      Make daily exercise a priority: 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity is recommended as the minimum health requirements for a stronger heart, boosted immunity and weight management. Add 20-30 minutes of strength training to this at least twice a week for increased muscle mass, more bone density and a faster metabolism.

–      Eat clean: there really are no shortcuts when it comes to your health. Eat a portion-controlled diet of complex carbs, healthy fats and lean proteins, supplemented with a minimum of five portions of fresh fruit and veg – organic and raw where possible.

–      Manage your stress: Whilst some degree of stress is actually good for you in improving performance, mismanaged stress can lead to heart disease, cancer and major chronic illness. Routine stress outlets like daily exercise, regular meals and snacks, quality time with friends and family and a work-relaxation balance.

–      Stick to water: Humans are the only species that take in any other form of hydration apart from water! Make sure you are meeting your daily requirements – a minimum of 250mls for every 10kgs of body weight.

–      Supplement correctly: Vitamins and supplements can serve an important function in meeting your daily nutritional needs. Men should opt for a multi-vitamin and omega 3, whilst women should take a multi-vitamin, calcium supplement and omega 3. Choose Foodstate supplements wherever possible, and an immune-booster/vitamin C in winter.

–      Avoid excess in any form: too much coffee, alcohol, refined foods, wheat, dairy, salt and sugar can have a detrimental effect on the body. Minimise intake of these foodstuffs wherever possible.

–      Make time for fun: it is essential to cultivate hobbies and passions if your work does not fulfill those ideals. Make time for activities that absorb your attention and leave you feeling happier and revitalized upon completion.

–      Nurture relationships: supportive family and friends should always be prioritized over work commitments, and will also offer you more emotional rewards. Make sure you are making time for important relationships, as they are essentially what count.