Health insurance premiums are rising, and health care costs are rising as well. Small businesses are struggling to pay health insurance for their employees and the rising costs becomes detrimental to their growth. Those who are self-insured are also watching their premiums go up. It doesn’t matter if you’re healthy or not, everyone is watching these costs go up, and having insurance isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get much relief if you have to have serious treatment of any kind.
This isn’t the first time we’re being disappointed by the healthcare system, and it won’t be the last. I remember my grandfather talking about his disappointment in the system and saying “Just don’t get sick”. I felt like it was an over-simplistic thing to say, but now I realize it’s one of the most realistic answers we have right now.
About a month ago Time Magazine published an article “The Bitter Pill:Why Medical Bills are Killing Us” exposing how much healthcare can cost even when health insurance is involved. The article focused on a couple seeking treatment for the husband’s cancer. The author went through their hospital bills with a fine-toothed comb and found many items were repeatedly overcharged by thousands of dollars, to include aspirin that cost $100 per pill. It left most readers scared, wondering how they’d survive financially if they were to get seriously ill.
There is something you can do to protect yourself from the rising cost of healthcare. If you’re not already in a state of chronic disease, you’re in a position where you can significantly protect yourself and your money. If you’re already afflicted with health issues, you can drastically decrease your need for medications and lower the amount you spend on healthcare.
In fact, there are three, very easy, very accessible steps we can take to improve and protect our health and also protect our bank account from rising healthcare costs. Not only will these 3 items help us to save money, but they will also provide us with significant financial payback now and in the long run.
It’s going to knock your socks off when I tell you what these seriously effective steps are because they’re already a part of your life (or easily can be), and they’re free:
- Regular exercise
- Healthier eating
- Regular Sleep
This may not be news to you. But I’m going to ask you to indulge me here and read on fo a few more seconds before clicking off the page because you mind read something useful.
First, allow me to wow you with the health and financial benefits of exercise. Exercise can be done with little to no financial investment. In fact, you can start walking in the shoes and clothes you already have. And research is showing that you don’t even have to break a sweat to start getting the benefits.
Did you know that 5 minutes of brisk walking has been shown to significantly improve your mood? Regular walking and regular exercise can reduce depression.
Ten minutes of brisk walking has been shown to reduce blood pressure and keep it down for 9 hours. Walking 2x per day for 10 minutes would give many people a lower blood pressure reading over all.
Regular strength training can make us more insulin sensitive. Meaning, insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) can be reduced or eliminated with regular strength training. Muscle has receptors for insulin so by increasing our muscle mass we create more insulin receptors and gain a greater ability to absorb sugar from the blood into tissue other than fat. You don’t have to get crazy, you just have to do a few simple strength exercises to cover the total body 2-3x per week and it can really change your body on the inside and out.
Cardiovascular exercise for just 30 minutes 5x per week or 20 minutes daily will decrease your risk for heart attack, stroke, alzheimers, cancer, diabetes, and more. This type of exercise can be anything from walking or running to playing basketball, swimming or dancing. It just needs to be an activity that makes you breathe heavier and increases your heart rate a bit – yet be comfortable enough to do for 20- 30 minutes at a clip.
All of these benefits of exercise can be attained with little to no financial investment. By drastically reducing our risk for disease and illness, and the amount of time we spend at a hospital, a doctors’ office, or a nursing home, we get to keep more of our own money and do other things with it. The best thing – we get to keep our LIFE for longer. In my next post I’ll tell you about the other financial benefits that exercise brings and how eating right can do the same.