Back Cove Trail | Portland, ME Corey Templeton Photography
A 30-minute stroll around the block, streaming a cardio session on YouTube, or a bike jaunt through the woods – exercise makes us feel better, more energetic, and helps us to live healthier lives. There’s another benefit we’d like to add to the list of things a good dose of exercise can improve – your financial health.
While exercise routines can help you squeeze into smaller sizes, your financial outlook could get in better shape, too.
The clarity to make good decisions
Ever notice how clearheaded you feel after a vigorous workout? We learn and think better once we get the blood flowing. Experts say that aerobic exercise even helps cognitive health as we age. We make decisions about money almost every day, from how much to spend on an item at the grocery store, to what price to ask for a used car. A sharp mind throughout the day helps make choosing your options seem more clear-cut. When you have bigger decisions to ponder, there’s nothing a long walk won’t help sort out.
Replaces the need for retail therapy
When feeling a little blue, it can be tempting to buy something to lift us from our stupor. This kind of pick-me-up can be expensive. A recent study by The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that running 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour can boost your mood. When you feel better about yourself, you avoid reaching for your wallet.
Practice Goal Setting
Saving for college, paying off a car loan, managing a monthly budget – a solid financial strategy is about establishing and accomplishing goals. This is a learned skill and practice makes perfect. Exercise allows you to set and achieve goals without the added weight of economic consequences. Practice setting short-term goals around an exercise routine. Once you’ve achieved one or two of them, and see how you are able to succeed, your financial goals don’t seem so far off.
A free entertainment alternative
Investing in spin classes or a gym membership can be a strategic investment in your health. But, exercise doesn’t have to cost you a thing. For example, there are many free hiking trails throughout the Portland, Scarborough, and Augusta areas. Once you get hooked on your favorite form of exercise, you’ll spend more time doing it, replacing other activities and hobbies that require you to spend money.
Opportunity to think about the big picture.
Exercise pulls you away from your daily routine. Without daily distractions, there’s an opportunity for you to think about the big picture. Exercise with trusted friends, family members, your spouse, or a life partner. It’s possible that your conversations will turn to things you’d like to see happen in your lives. When we allow ourselves to dream big, actionable strategies result, and life goals are fulfilled.