How Much Are You Paying for Your Health?

The hidden and not so hidden savings of maintaining your physical vitality

Pictured here is the latest correspondence from my health insurance company, letting me know my rates (on a plan I initially purchased less than five months ago) is going up 10% next year. Don’t the people on the cover look attractive, vibrant and happy?

I’m not going to get political, because, as the saying goes, you can put 12 economists in a room with a money problem and they’ll emerge with 13 opinions. So the debate on how to slice up the pie I’ll leave to other, more qualified and opinionated students of the topic. I’ll focus here on the size of the pie itself.

Perspectives differ wildly on how to handle the skyrocketing costs of caring for the sick and injured. But what is universally accepted is that a significant trend toward preventive care, notably, eating more healthfully and exercising regularly can save each of us a lot of money in medical care costs. They can even add years – high quality years – to our lives. There are no alternatives that are nearly as effective at lowering the risks of the most prevalent and costly diseases and conditions. Here’s some revealing information on this.

My medical insurance plan has a high deductable and a small copayment not just because I need to have a lower monthly premium. It’s rare that I go to the doctor and I’ve never been in the hospital. Both of those conditions could change, I know, but I also know why it’s been this way for 50 years.

But cost isn’t the reason I eat and work out the way I do. I feel and look a certain way that I want to hang onto as long as possible. I only put in about three or four hours of exercise a week. And I’m careful but not meticulous about what and how I eat. But I bring my complete focus to both when I’m engaged in either activity. And I understand well the principles that govern each area of focus.

You can too.

If you adopt and build on one principle a week in each area of exercise and nutrition, you’re off to a great start. Here’s one for each:

Exercise – Incorporate full-body, controlled tempo movements in all areas of fitness (cardio, strength, core and flexibility) and concentrate on the quality of your movements over the number of repetitions or the duration of your exercise.

Nutrition – Eat veggies at all three meals, making them the most prominently featured item at dinner.

There you go. Now all you have to do is keep it going.

And then you can stop thinking about the costs of your health care and star focusing on the value of a healthy body.


Dan is a nationally certified personal fitness trainer and former continuing education faculty member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. He is the owner and head trainer at Tri Valley Trainer in Pleasanton, which provides personal and small group fitness training and nutrition guidance. He can be reached at Dan@TriValleyTrainer.com.


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