… “What surprises you most about humankind?”

God answered. …

“That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.” …

“That they live as if they will never die and die as if they had never lived.”…

This excerpt from the late author Jim Brown’s I dreamed I had an interview with God has an intriguing message. (His pen name is James J. Lachard and this work is usually misattributed to the Dalai Lama.) We probably know the we should be healthier, but it’s not always easy. However, the costs, in terms of both finances and your well-being, can be steep.

Your health is actually an investment. Doing small things, like eating right and exercising, are relatively inexpensive and can have a huge impact on your health. Investing a little more time in sleep or meditating to reduce stress costs next to nothing and can greatly improve your quality of life.

Losing weight can save money at any age

A recent study found that working to reduce weight benefits those overweight and obese at every age. While the savings peaked around age 50, it found that at any age, there was an average total savings of $36,278!

Getting out of a defeated mindset is critical. With savings at every age, a mantra of “Oh well! I’ve lived this certain lifestyle for so long why change now?” is missing the numerous benefits.

Weight loss can help reduce or reverse a number of diseases; type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. You’ll also feel better, move better, and reduce the risk for other diseases.

Exercise can lower costs as well

A study on how regular exercise can affect health outcomes found even more savings. Those who performed moderate to vigorous exercise, 30 minutes or more, 5 days a week saved, on average, $1,900 in health care costs.

It also had some good news in terms of public health. If just 20% of patients with cardiovascular disease met exercise goals (that usually didn’t), the US would save several billion dollars annually on health care costs.

Cost, savings, and getting started

While the dollar signs of money saved are inviting, how much does getting healthy cost? Is it worth it? And, if so, how do you get started?

The good news is that many of the things to improve health are free or inexpensive and have less to do with your doctor than you may think. The difference in shopping for healthy verses unhealthy food is about $1.50 per day and exercising can be free.

Take a look at some of our other posts on shopping for food, exercising, and setting health goals for tips on how to get started. Talking with a doctor, chiropractor, or professional trainer can also be beneficial if you’re a little unsure where to start exercising or if you’re healthy enough to start.

Remember, it’s impossible to change everything over night. But even slow changes pay big dividends!