Invest in Yourself Now. Save Money Later
Today’s guest post is penned by colleagues who wear the white coat by day (and sometimes night) and athletic gear in their spare time. As an OB/Gyn resident and physician researcher, their spare time is limited, but Alex Robles, MD and Brittany Noel Robles, MD, MPH not only make time to stay in shape, but also to share their stories, tips, and tricks with the world via their website, The White Coat Trainer.
Being a physician and being wealthy isn’t as common as it used to be. The rising cost of tuition, increasing student loan burden, and improper financial planning are the major contributors to the decline in a physician’s net worth.
Thankfully, a number of physician bloggers have been providing a great deal of resources to help fellow doctors get their finances in order. These include: strategic use of different types of retirement accounts, living like a resident until your loans are paid off, and saving a large percentage of your salary as you grow into your income.
These methods are both simple and effective in dramatically increasing a physician’s net worth, helping to achieve financial independence.
While these strategies are important in improving your future financial health, there is one more factor that isn’t considered as often as it should be when it comes to saving more money.
Investing in yourself.
How Can Fitness Save You Money?
Time and time again, studies have shown that individuals who engage in physical activity have lower rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
These four medical conditions constitute an extremely large percentage of hospital admissions, as well as healthcare spending. The amount of people living with one or more of these four conditions exceeds 200 million!
In addition, did you know that medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the USA? And the majority of these people have insurance!
Unfortunately, medical school doesn’t teach us anything about financial planning, and it does very little to teach us about fitness.
You can do everything right with your finances, and have a large nest egg in your retirement portfolio, but nothing will prepare you for a catastrophic medical event that could have been prevented.
Invest in yourself just as much as you invest in your retirement.
Why not enjoy your retirement with a youthful body that can still participate in all kinds of activities?
How Fit Are You?
Many hospitals have begun to implement wellness initiatives for their employees, including blood pressure screenings, meditation sessions and even blood work testing.
When was the last time you had your hemoglobin A1c and lipids checked? What about your blood pressure? Is your waist circumference greater than 35 inches?
These are real medical conditions that can begin to manifest at the age of 25 and over, right around the time you begin residency training. Unfortunately, residency is the time when doctors tend to ignore their health the most, exacerbating the possibility of developing chronic metabolic conditions.
What about your genetics? Are they stacked against you? My family history is notable for many chronic medical conditions that respond well to lifestyle modifications.
Start to take care of your health now, while you still can. Preventative medicine is a lot cheaper than therapeutic medicine, both to you and to the healthcare system.
Simple Methods to Improve Your Fitness
I know what you’re going to say. You’re too busy to exercise and make time for fitness.
Just like the stock market, investing in yourself doesn’t have to be complicated. If you invest in low cost index funds, you’ll be in great financial shape over the long haul.
Start by walking more. We live in a very sedentary culture that spends 8+ hours a day sitting in front of a screen. The hospital system exacerbates the problem by continuously making electronic medical records and charting more laborious and time intensive.
Get a Fitbit and move more. Take a walk for lunch rather than ordering in. Take the stairs instead of using the elevator. Take your children for a walk when you get home from work. Do your best to get 10,000 steps a day. Just the physical act of moving around can counteract the negative effects of being sedentary.
Drink more water. Stop drinking sugar and other nonsensical beverages. Stop chugging down caffeinated drinks to stay “energized.” Your body is made mostly of water and it’s begging to be hydrated. Try drinking water and nothing else for one week, with every single meal, and see how you feel. It will cost you nothing extra, and take no additional time to perform.
Check out 7 Simple Ways to Eat Better Immediately to find other quick dietary strategies that you can use right now to improve your current diet on a busy schedule.
Get Some Sleep
Make sleep a priority. This is one of the best things that you can do for your health. Do you sleep 4-5 hours a night and then wonder why you’re so tired? It’s like expecting your bank account to have money in it without showing up to work. You need to ensure that you’re getting 6-8 hours of sleep every day.
Did you just work a 24 hour shift? There are no exceptions. Sleep 6-8 hours during the day time.
Keep your room dark and cool. Wear an eye mask. Sleep is non-negotiable. It’s free, and has the potential to earn you great dividends as you will be more focused when it matters the most.
Get a Little Exercise
Exercise. This should go without saying, but far too many people ignore the tremendous benefits exercise has on the body. As a physician, exercise is usually the first thing to go when your schedule gets busy.
The good news is, you don’t need to spend countless hours at the gym to get great results. Utilize large compound functional exercises to get the most out of your workouts. 30 minutes a day three to four times a week is more than enough. Carving out 30 minutes a day for yourself is a small and reasonable investment that anyone can achieve.
Check out The Best Workout Template for Busy Professionals to find a routine that I have utilized with great success over the years.
That’s it. It’s that simple. Start slow and find ways to integrate these small changes into your life. If you stick it out for the long haul, your body and your bank account will thank you.
Don’t get caught with a large investment portfolio and a frail body.
Invest in your physical fitness for your own sake. It’ll be the best insurance policy you’ll ever get.
[PoF: Thank you for the insightful guest post. For more information on this subject, check out my take on the topic of fitness and retirement and be sure to visit The White Coat Trainer for tips on exercises, posture, sleep, and much more.]