Look, we all know we could do a little better on our health goals. Whether it’s skipping the gym to run the kids to practice, or running through a drive thru when we’re on a time crunch, there are a million tiny ways we push health to the backburner for seemingly more important things.
But health isn’t something that’s important only for the wealthy and time-rich. In fact, there’s another really great reason to bring health back to the forefront of your priorities, your health is suffering, financial health could be suffering as well. Here’s a few ways your health directly impacts your money:
Remember all those all-nighters pulled before big tests or completing important assignments in college? Well, that lack of sleep was not as beneficial as you might have thought. In fact, research has shown that lack of sleep affects you very similarly to drinking alcohol. Research shows that going without sleep for 24 hours is the equivalent of having a .1%-.2% blood alcohol content, which is above the legal limit! So if you’d never drink and drive, you better not be sleep-deprived and driving too.
Now, most likely you aren’t pulling regular all-nighters anymore, but research shows that even if you’re consistently getting only 4-5 hours of sleep a night, your decision-making abilities are severely impaired. Not only that, but lack of sleep reduces focus, efficiency, productivity, and critical thinking skills, all of which are directly related to how well you work and will negatively impact your finances.
How to change it: one of the best ways to improve sleep is getting a consistent schedule down. Your body and brain really like patterns, so going to bed at the same time each night that will allow for 7-8 hours of rest is crucial to getting good quality of sleep.
Note: focus on getting quality rest. Ways to improve sleep quality include: white noise machines, occasional supplements like magnesium and melatonin, and turning off all screens at least 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep.
Poor nutrition directly impacts your finances by impacting your body and mind. The food you eat directly changes your hormone levels, can increase and decrease productivity, increase mental health disorders, stress, addiction, and many other things that will impact your ability to work. Additionally, eating the high saturated fat common in the standard American diet is linked to cognitive disorders like decreased short term memory and lower brain function.
Not only that, but consistently eating at restaurants is not only unhealthier, but can be exceedingly more expensive!
How to change it: the best thing you can do you for nutrition is to focus on prepping your own food. When you get real, whole foods that you cook yourself, you know exactly what’s going into them. Focus on quality protein, veggies, and fruits. Avoid anything prepackaged as it will have more fillers and empty calories. Not only will more nutritious food help you make more money, but it will save you over 50% of what you’d normally spend at a restaurant.
Exercise has so many benefits above looking great. For starters, studies have shown that people test better post-exercise than they do when they don’t exercise. It increases energy expenditure to the brain, helps you focus, decreases anxiety and depression, releases happy-feeling endorphins to help you stay positive during the day and helps you operate at a higher level than your coworkers. Not only these, but exercise is linked to increased creativity. So, if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, it can help you come up with new marketing ideas or services that will help grow your business.
How to change it: regular exercise can seem daunting, but start small. Try going for 3 days a week of getting intentional movement, and increase it as you get in the habit. If you want to brain boosting benefits, go early in the morning before work. If you need a midday pick-me-up, go for a walk or jog on your lunch break.
4. MINDSET AND CONFIDENCE
Feeling good in your body directly impacts how you see yourself, and the confidence that you portray. When you have a positive mindset and walk with confidence, it allows you operate better. When you are scared, stressed, or don’t feel good about yourself, your actions will operate from those feelings.
Especially in sales, confidence can directly hinder your growth and your ability to make money. No one wants to buy from someone who isn’t confident that their product is the right fit for them!
How to change it: Looking and feeling better in your body directly correlates to your confidence and mindset in business. One of the best ways to grow confidence is through strength training. Consistently lifting heavy things teaches your brain that you are capable of hard things. This leads to confidence and a growth mindset that lets you overcome barriers, both in the gym and in your business.
Research shows that consistent levels of stress can cause you to be disengaged, and can even keep your brain from functioning properly. What happens when you’re stressed is that your survival instincts go into overload. They trigger stress hormones in your body that are designed to help you escape immediate danger, and flush all the blood from your organs and brain into your arms and legs, so you could run or fight for your life.
This is a great response if you are in danger, but not if it’s just perceived danger that comes from a stressful environment. These stress hormones shut down everything from short term memory, to reproduction, to focus, to digestion, and can be a huge detriment to your business or job. When you’re chronically stressed, you are consistently shutting down your growth in your brain and body to stay in survival mode. Without growth in your brain, you cannot be successful in business, which will directly impact your finances.
Another impact stress has is the urge to overspend. Research shows that similar to stress eating, some people stress-spend. It’s called retail therapy, and can be a huge detriment to your wallet, as well as only a short-term help for your emotions.
How to change it: when you exercise, you move these stress hormones out of your body so that they don’t get trapped and continue negatively impacting you. But it isn’t just movement that helps, eating the right types of food also help decrease stress. Magnesium, chamomile, and other herbs are proven to help reduce stress. Additionally, decreasing the amount of processed food in your diet can also help decrease the stress on your body.
The food and the lack of movement typical of most adults in the U.S. is directly linked to depression and other mental health disorders. Just like stress, the feeling of sadness leads to things like retail therapy. The reason for this is because dopamine is one of the feel-good hormones in your brain. Often, with depression, there is a lack of dopamine being circulated in the brain. When you do things like gamble, win, and even buy things, you get a temporary burst of dopamine that can make you feel good and also be extremely addicting.
How to change it: aside from regular exercise and good nutrition which has been proven to help reduce depression as effectively as pharmaceuticals, recognizing the patterns of your emotions and your reactions can allow you to step out of the habit cycle and make conscious decisions about your spending, as well as other negative habits you want to stop.
Finally, eating well and exercising regularly builds discipline. People who do not exercise and don’t take care of their food intake have a much higher chance of giving in to impulses like emotional eating, emotional spending, or even just impulse spending when you reach the register. Discipline is just like a muscle. As you develop it in your body, it spreads to discipline in every area of your life. Without this, it is much more likely you won’t have control of your spending and are more likely to spend frivolously.
How to change it: Focus on intentional growth in your fitness regimen. This means consistently challenging yourself. If you ran a mile for two weeks in a row, increase it so that you’re pushing yourself. This challenge is going to push your mindset and grow your discipline.
All in all, there are more than just seven ways that fitness impacts your finances, as well as the rest of your life. But if you needed a little push to get back to your health goals, here it is! On average, people who go to the gym regularly make $25,000 more than those who never hit the gym! In addition, those who engage in high intensity exercise make an additional $13,000 on top of that. Now, if that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!
Post written by Katie Oldja. She is the founder and head coach at Hai Life Health and Wellness, a holistic health company focused on leading people to realign to their vision by breaking down barriers in their beliefs, mindset, and body.