If part of your New Year’s resolutions has to do with reducing debt, spending less, and saving more, you can do all three by focusing on your health. Not only does good health save a lot of money, it also increases happiness and wellbeing. Healthy body, healthy finances.

Let’s start the new decade with a better understanding of how our health affects our finances and what we can do about it.

Bad Health Is Bad for Wealth and Wellbeing

Poor health has significant effects on wealth and wellbeing. According to a recent West Health-Gallup survey, about half (45%) of Americans fear bankruptcy in the event of a major medical emergency. In 2018, Americans collectively borrowed $88 billion to cover healthcare costs and 1 in 4 chose to skip a medical treatment due to cost.

Obviously, there are many things that are completely out of our control when it comes to our health, but exercising and eating well are some common-sense ways of reducing health-related costs.

There are also things you can do like ensuring healthy air and humidity in your living space. A $60 humidifier can save you seasons of shopping for cough syrup, lozenges, and flu medicine. Dry air can also cause respiratory issues, including asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and nosebleeds.

Our advice is to take care of your body and mind. It’s your most important asset. Start 2020 with a resolution to choose health. Everything else will follow.

Health That Promotes Wealth

  1. Exercise

This is the best thing you can do because it has so many benefits and doesn’t cost a penny, potentially. We all know you can spend a lot of money on exercise clothes and equipment, but everything you need for a good workout is freely available.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of exercise:

The stress-reducing, mood-boosting effects of exercise wear off in less than a day. You need to exercise consistently and for a sustained period to really get the health benefits. Try joining a local group that meets at least once a week. Find groups near you on Meetup.

You have to want to exercise. Forcing someone to exercise can actually worsen their health. So choose an activity you enjoy doing — run, dance, play basketball, learn how to skateboard.

Studies demonstrate that aerobic exercise is better for your overall health than anaerobic exercise. This type of exercise is the cardiovascular (cardio) type that involves a sustained increase of your breathing and heart rate—not so much that you can’t have a conversation.

While you can spend a lifetime trying to figure out the most effective workout and exercise schedule, it seems pretty clear that you should exercise for about 20-30 minutes, at least two times a week. You can run for free at your local park. And many communities have public outdoor exercise parks, tennis courts, basketball courts, grassy fields, and more. Planks, squats, lunges, crunches, and push-ups you can do anywhere.

Watch your wallet. Don’t overdo it and don’t get yourself into debt over Lululemons, gym memberships, or Pelotons. A bicycle, however, is a great investment—as long as you use it. Supportive shoes are also a good idea.

  1. Meditate

Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. When done regularly and for a sustained basis, meditation has been proven to be pretty good for your health and wellbeing. There are many studies that show clear physiological benefits while meditating, including easing anxiety, stress, and pain.

When you relax and focus on your breathing, taking short breaths in and long breaths out, your body returns to homeostasis and things quickly begin to improve. Studies of Buddhist monks have even shown long-lasting changes to the brain involving memory, attention, and learning. Don’t trust anyone who says you need to buy this or that to meditate properly. You don’t need a thing, except your mind.

  1. Eat Healthy

Eating is going to cost you money, and it seems that the healthier it is, the more expensive it is. Organic always cost more than inorganic. Soda is cheap. But, there are some tricks for eating extremely healthy while most likely saving you money at the same time:

Cook at home. That’s one of the best rules to have. Maybe plan one day out of the week for takeout and make it a goal to cook at home the rest of the time. This is a great way to save money while improving your health and wellbeing.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are often cheaper, but just as nutritious. In fact, according to nutritionist Sabrina Rice, frozen vegetables are more nutritious because they don’t lose nutrient density during transport. Frozen fruits make amazing smoothies and frozen veggies can be used for a quick and delicious soup or stir-fry.

Consider joining a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. You subscribe to receive a box of fresh vegetables and other farm products every week for a fee that changes depending on the farm.

Look for local farmers markets. You can get great deals on locally produced meats, produce, breads, and preserved foods.

Your personal health and financial health are more interconnected than you might think. Start protecting your most important asset: You.

For free, personalized advice on dealing with debt, contact DebtBlue for your no-obligation consultation.