Health and Fitness: Spending vs Investing

If you are a hardworking professional with a commitment to health and fitness, you are occasionally faced with the question (usually posed by someone with a thicker waistline than yours), “How do you find time to go to the gym?” But if you are a hardworking professional with a commitment to financial security, no one ever asks, “How do you find time to go to the bank?”

Part of the reason for that, of course, is that unlike your bank account, you can’t manage your body online…yet. But another part has to do with a basic misunderstanding of saving and investing, versus spending. If you go to the bank and shift IRA, people say you are “investing” in your future. But if you go to the gym, they say you’re “spending” your time there. Probably that’s one reason why so many of us become discouraged in our pursuit of fitness- it often feels as if there are more things to do, that we are “spending” precious time on a luxury.

But what if you looked at going to the gym the same way you look at going to the bank? What if each workout wasn’t a matter of time spent, but of time invested? And what if exercise paid dividends, and the more you invested early, the bigger the pay off later on?

That’s exactly the way we should be thinking of our fitness, both financial and physical. Just as we should start investing for future plans while we are young- even if we don’t feel we can afford to- so too should we start investing the future health wise, long before vital body systems threaten to break down. Because whether it’s our body or our money, failing to invest early will cost dearly over the long haul. In fact, if we aren’t investing now, we are losing ground.

Here’s why: When we put money under a mattress (or "dupatta" in case you are a regular rural Pakistani woman) instead of investing it, we lose about 3 percent a year, give or take, because of inflation. Same thing with our body: Without investing in regular exercise, the average person loses about a pound of muscle mass every 5 years after the age of 25 and beyond 50, his/her muscle loss picks up rapidly (I read this in Men’s Health). And that leads, of course, to a different kind of inflation.

The good news is that being financially sound and physically sound go hand in hand. In “Outrun Financial Stress”, author Richard Sine points out that the same self discipline that helps people hit the gym also helps them make it to the bank. He points out another, less reassuring fact: We’re still not doing enough.


Dia said... [Reply]

But im too lazy to exercise regularly :P

I think you are right. Poor physical health erodes the finances and financial stress affects the health. It means both are correlated.

floydian said... [Reply]

Being lazy is fine. What really matters is consistency in what you do :)

Asim said... [Reply]

Like it...

Liz.A said... [Reply]

It's about time we start investing in health and physical fitness/well being because it surely does pay off in the long run.