One of the biggest hurdles to planning workouts is a little thing called motivation. When it comes down to it, motivation is the difference between starting an exercise program, and actually sticking with it.
Money can be a huge motivator. It’s the reason many of us get up and go to work each morning. Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine the motivating influence of money with exercise?
Well, guess what? Having a workout plan can save you money, and it’s been proven.
People who are physically fit have lower long-term medical costs
You have to look a little further down the road, but you’ll discover a huge potential for savings when it comes to exercise.
A 2012 study conducted by the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center and the Cooper Institute found that people who were physically fit in middle-age had on average 38% lower medical costs later in life. The study tracked participants over 4 decades, and the findings were unmistakable: a healthy lifestyle now will pay dividends in the future.
Exercise lowers medical costs in the short-term, too
The promise of lower medical bills 20, 30, or 40 years down the road probably isn’t going to be a huge motivating factor. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait that long to reap the money-saving benefits of exercise.
Employees who took part in an exercise program with a set workout plan for their work saw their medical bills go down by 33% after only 2 years, according to a 2007 study by Medica and Life Time Fitness. Since many people get health insurance through their jobs, this proves the effectiveness of workplace fitness programs as a cost-saving measure.
Making exercise a life-long habit
While setting short term fitness goals is important, the real benefits of exercise are life-long. If you can make a regular workout plan a habit that lasts a lifetime, the positive impact it will have on your life is literally immeasurable, and extends far beyond the monetary aspects.
So if you want to transform yourself into the kind of person who makes being physically fit a top priority, follow these tips to stick with your exercise program:
- Find an exercise buddy: Sometimes you’ll let yourself slack, but if you’ve got someone you work out with, and they’re willing to hold you accountable, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it.
- >Think outside the gym: Exercise is more than treadmills and dumbbells. Expand your fitness activities to include things like tennis, basketball, roller skating, swimming, biking and hiking etc. And remember, what you do in the kitchen can make or break your fitness goals. Avoid extreme diets, painful self-denial and restrictive meal plans in favor of small, healthy, sustainable changes in the way you eat. That way you can turn your food choices into habits as opposed to exercises in endurance! Remember: One. Step. At. A. Time!
- Track your progress: Realizing that you can lift more weight or that you can fit into a pair of jeans from years ago can be a huge motivating factor to keep you going. Tracking your endurance is another great way to recognize progress – look for improvement in areas such as muscle tone, ability to walk or run faster or further than at a previous point in time, quality of sleep and ability to remain alert during the day, as well as overall feelings of health and wellbeing.
- Make exercise a part of your identity: If fitness is central to how you view yourself as a person, then you’re more likely to continue your exercise routine through the challenges and life changes that we all experience. When you think about motivating factors for continuing with fitness goals, think about the benefits you reap in both the short and long term – but note that the long term benefits far outweigh any discomfort or aversions you may feel in the immediate short term.
The big picture
When it comes down to it, saving money is only a small part of the wide range of benefits you get from regular exercise. So, keep your eye on the big picture, and go out and exercise today!