Many people believe that getting healthy is expensive. Paying for a gym membership. Buying organic foods or grass-fed beef. Vitamins and protein powder. Buying good quality running shoes. And the list goes on. It’s hard to argue with these points, although, they are looking through a short-term lens and I would argue that there is a long-term impact that is important to consider.
However, the point of today’s article is to give you 2 ways to get fit while saving money at the same time.
And not only will these 2 gems save you money, if implemented, they will also be synergistic with all of your other efforts within the fitness and nutrition paradigm. So, without further ado…..
Cut down or Cut out your TV Habit
According to a Nielson study, published in the New York Times, the average American adult watches four hours of live television per day. How much time does it typically take to get to the gym, change, workout (cardio and weights), shower, and get back home or to work? On average about half of that.
Create a mental image for yourself. If everyone in your household cut way back on TV time (or cut it out altogether), which allowed your family to spend more time together, what would that look like? How about if you took half of that 4 hours and spent it doing fun things outside, or cooking together, or playing games, would that make you happier. I think it would and that happiness would improve your mental health dramatically. And it is well established in the medical community that happier people, with strong social and family relationships, are physically healthier as well.
And don’t forget about the money you can save by cutting down on the cable or satellite bill, or cancelling altogether. Basic cable costs somewhere around $60 per month and the fancy DVR services sometimes get as high as $150 – $250 per month.
And since we all know that longer periods of sedentary time are really bad for us, you might say that paying for the monthly cable is actually an investment is a lower standard of health. What do you think of them apples?
I’m not suggesting that all TV watching is bad, but when it’s excessive, it’s certainly at odds with good health.
Improve your Sleep
Gallup reports that nearly 40% of Americans do not get enough sleep each night. And science has established that that inadequate sleep is a major risk factor for obesity. Modern sleep researchers, such as those at the University of Bristol in the UK, are finding that poor sleep negatively affects fat metabolism and over time can be a leading cause of obesity.
The University of Bristol published a recent article suggesting, “We should recommend more sleep to prevent obesity.” It’s estimated that it costs almost $200 billion in medical costs to treat and deal with obesity-related issues, including heart disease, pre-diabetes, orthopedic surgery, etc…
Improving your sleep to get more would be a huge, cost-saving initiative. Good sleep also helps you to more fully from intense workouts. It improves energy levels, reduces cravings and improves brain function.
There are lots of ways to hack your sleep, but the absolute simplest hack is to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every single night. Researchers have shown that keeping multiple sleep schedules does not work well at all and is counter-productive in the long run. Shoot for 8 hours a night.
So, where are the savings from improved and longer sleep? Sleep aids such as pharmaceuticals cost a lot of money. What about all those energy drinks? One survey showed that the average American adults spends up to $500 per year on energy drinks so that they don’t fall asleep driving or during work. Maybe that’s not you, and you won’t reap any real short-term savings, but the long-terms financial and health benefits are quite real.