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5Sep

Health is wealth. This used to be an adage that has been overused with time. But lately, its meaning has transformed as it is true not only figuratively, but also literally. Staying healthy requires money!

You might think that’s not always the case – and you’re probably right. But the numbers below do tell us a truth that we can’t quite turn a blind eye on.

The cost of healthcare is rising. Is it related to inflation? Is it due to the fact that as healthcare improves, more people maximize their life span and continue getting treatment for conditions that would have otherwise already killed them? Whatever the reason, the trend is obvious: We will be spending more on healthcare costs in the near future.

Rising Healthcare Costs: What It Means for Us

Projections say that just five years from now, we will be spending 13 percent more than what we’re spending right now for our health needs. This carries with it many implications, both on our individual expenses and the overall budget of our country.

For instance, if what we spend on medication and checkups will increase, then the nationwide financial burden of each disease will spike as well. And if healthcare costs go up, so do insurance premiums.

It seems that at this point, health insurance is called for. And if the numbers above are true, then it’s time we invested in our health early on. Our health literally becomes a good investment.

Why We Have Become Unhealthy

Life has become so much more convenient compared to how our ancestors lived. We no longer need to hunt for hours to get food. Just call your favorite fastfood hotline and you will have fried chicken and burgers delivered to your doorstop in thirty minutes.

That seems like a good thing, but is it?

With food becoming more accessible, we spend less effort and less time preparing it. Our bodies are accustomed – no, they’re built – for activities that keep our hearts pumping. Our bodies actually perform better the more we use it. Our blood pressure initially goes up, but it goes down lower than our baseline values the more we exercise.

Our hearts pump hard and fast when we’re doing jumping jacks, but the more we exercise, the more our baseline heart rate goes down. Our bodies actually adapt, becoming more efficient machines the more we use them.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen a lot anymore. We have to schedule exercise instead of incorporating it into our daily habits. Living healthy has become a “choice” to make instead of a default lifestyle.

5 Ways to Invest in Your Health Now

Start investing in your health as early as now – I have five easy suggestions for you. I know you’re hesitating to follow them because it requires spending more than you usually do, but think of it this way: It’s better to spend now if it means staying healthy than to spend later when you’re already sick!

  • Make a list of healthy restaurants and write down their hotlines. It sounds easy, but for some reason, not too many people do it. It’s a practical-enough solution but healthy food is more expensive than, say, a bucket of chicken! But learn to care for your health; make the list. Do it. Do it now.
  • Buy healthy food on your next trip to the supermarket. Buy fruits and vegetables that may rot in a few days instead of buying junk food that can last months. Buy yogurt, blueberries, and whole wheat bread instead of cheaper ice cream, candy, and white bread.
  • Enrol in an activity class. It can be zumba, boxing, or yoga. It can be a gym or a dance studio. Whatever it is, spend for it. The knowledge that you spent money for something just might push you to commit to it.
  • Go out of town instead of watching TV on Sundays. Spending the whole day at home, munching on potato chips while watching your favorite soap opera is not exactly the picture of a healthy lifestyle. Instead, plan a trip with your family. All that packing, walking, and trekking will be good for you!

With healthcare costs on the rise, it’s time you paid more attention to your health and spent more money trying to “maintain” it. You do it for our cars. Why shouldn’t you do it for your body?

Stef dela Cruz, MD is a doctor-columnist who maintains a health blog. She received the Health Media Recognition Award from the Department of Health in 2013. Join her on Facebook and Twitter.

  

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