It should come as no surprise that losing weight and eating healthier sits at the top of Statistic Brain’s 2017 New Year’s Resolution survey results. Roughly 21.4 percent have made this one of our goals, and if the statistics remain true, about 9.2 percent of us will feel successful at following through come December.
Did you resolve to make your health more of a priority this coming year? How are you doing so far? Maybe you need a little motivation, and I’m here to provide that. While I won’t be holding you accountable to show up at the gym or purging your house of junk food, I can offer this incentive: getting healthier this year could mean more money back in your pocket. Here’s how.
- Exercising regularly is linked to better credit scores.
A 2016 Wallet Hub survey showed that 54 percent of its 1,000 participants who said they exercise frequently also had excellent credit scores. It might seem like a stretch, but disciplining yourself to exercise can translate to more discipline in other areas of life — such as credit card spending — that directly affect your credit score.
- Consistent exercise habits indicate you probably score high in a certain Big 5 personality trait: conscientiousness, which carries across multiple areas of life.
The good news is that even if you’re not naturally conscientious, it’s a trait you can practice and improve in. The word also has the same root as “consciousness,” so even if you’re just now becoming aware of the need to take better care of your body, it counts. Conscientiousness about your health leads you to exercise and eat better. In turn, one type of conscientiousness will lead to self-awareness and discipline in other areas, like your finances.
- Exercise and healthy eating habits lower your health risks and medical expenses, which translates to lower personal health care costs.
Each of us spends over $4,000 a year in health care-related expenses on average. Yikes! The good news is that you already know how to spend less. Everyone knows that consistent exercise and healthy eating lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other life-threatening conditions. Modifying your diet to reflect nutritionists’ recommendations could also mean getting sick less, needing fewer medications, and making fewer office visits. Your medical insurance rates might even drop if you fall into a healthy weight range and demonstrate participation in an exercise program.
- Taking control of your health by exercising and eating healthy leaves you feeling positive and helps you make better longer-term financial decisions.
Emotional stress leads us to seek comfort through food – and spending. Exercise relieves stress and makes you feel better, overall; the better you feel, the more you’ll be focused on the future and not your immediate wants. If you’re healthy and expect to live a long life, you may feel more motivated to set aside funds for retirement and get out of debt so you can spend more time and money on active hobbies and help your future grandchildren get through college.
- Exercising can earn you employee perks.
An increasing number of employers are offering lucrative incentives for their employees to get and stay healthy – anything from discounts (or free) insurance to payouts and rewards based on tracked steps or hours of activity. Who doesn’t like to get an extra check in the mail just for staying active?
As these points demonstrate, taking care of your health comes with financial rewards because it encourages you to have better habits in all areas of your life and rewards you with health-related kickbacks as you reach your goals. Instead of that counter-intuitive giant fudge sundae, these financial incentives are a guilt-free way to reward yourself and stay motivated.