Are there rewards for living a healthy lifestyle? Besides the bragging rights that come with looking good, being energetic, and having an overall positive attitude, does clean living truly add anything to our material, mental, or physical well-being?
The answer is yes, but the reasons are surprising. Most people define living healthy as some combination of the following: no tobacco use, infrequent consumption of alcohol, regular exercise, avoidance of risky behaviors, avoidance of excessive exposure to direct sunlight, maintaining a proper weight, consistently getting enough sleep, consuming a balanced diet, seeking help when faced with high levels of stress or depression, maintaining adequate medical insurance, getting annual checkups, and engaging in some kind of daily relaxation activity (like yoga or meditation).
If you do any or all of those things, you already know how easy it can be to improve your life in subtle and obvious ways. The goal is to add as many of those items as possible to your regular routine.
Quitting smoking is one of the most common goals for people who are addicted to nicotine. Probably the second-most common aim for many people is to drop a few excess pounds. But everyone has a different situation and focuses on their own methods for making life better.
In the end, the big benefit for the majority of adults is living a longer and doing so without serious health challenges. Here are some important details about the real-world benefits of living healthy.
1. Lower Medical Bills
Getting an annual physical exam can mean saving money on long-term medical expenses. In fact, people over the age of 50 often visit the doctor twice per year just to be on the safe side.
There’s a reason for doing so. Catching any major disease early in its development cycle greatly increases your odds of beating it. This is true for most of the major illnesses as well as less serious maladies like influenza and sinus infections.
Everyone gets occasional viruses, headaches, and minor illnesses. Those can’t be avoided. But healthful habits seem to deter the really serious problems that can lead to physical incapacitation and huge medical bills.
2. Lower Life Insurance Premiums
Smart living saves you money in dozens of ways. One of the most obvious benefits of a healthy lifestyle is lower insurance premiums. It makes perfect sense, too. Think of it, as insurers don’t have to spend as much on policyholders who live well into old age.
And, if a carrier determines that your habits are such that you’re likely to stick around into your eighties or nineties, they’ll charge less for coverage. It’s really a simple profit-loss equation from their point of view, but you’re the one who benefits from the mathematics.
Another bonus for healthy people who own life insurance policies is this: it’s easy to get an estimate on the value of your policy and then obtain a life insurance settlement. What is a life settlement? Simply put, it’s when someone decides to sell their insurance contract for an amount greater than its cash value but greater than the death benefit.
Why do policyholders opt for this kind of deal? Some decide they no longer need the coverage or choose to purchase other types of insurance. Whatever the motivation, getting an estimate is a quick process. After that, it’s your decision to accept or decline the offer.
3. Looking Good
Have you ever noticed that people who regularly get enough sleep, eat right, exercise regularly, and don’t smoke tend to look better?
There’s something about good, old-fashioned clean living that leads to attractive muscle tone, glowing skin, a resonant voice, and an overall happy demeanor.
Maybe it’s not the most scientific of measures, but it’s easy enough to spot the healthiest people in any crowd. The just emit a certain kind of aura that sets them apart.
4. Feeling Resilient, Rested, And Vigorous
But it’s not all about saving money or outward appearances. Living well has a deeper, more important benefit: inner happiness.
When you do the right thing for your physical health, there’s a psychological payoff as well. All that quality sleep, smart eating, sensible exercise, and moderation can bring on a long-term sense of resilience, vigor, calm, and mental serenity.
It’s almost as if our bodies reward us for treating them well.