4 Health Myths That Drain Your Wallet

You don’t need to spend money to get in better shape.

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Many people spend a good deal of time and money trying to stay as fit as possible. Taking steps to maintain your health is a good idea that becomes especially important as you age.

Staying in shape generally enhances your quality of life and can save you big bucks in many ways. Good health keeps you out of the hospital and reduces your health insurance costs too. But you don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to stay healthy in retirement. Here are four health myths that could cause you to overspend.

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I belong to a gym to stay healthy. Not everyone goes to the gym to stay healthy. Many people go to the gym to be social. In fact, sometimes going to a gym gets in the way of being in shape. The more often you go, the more friends you develop. Rather than spending your time working out, you end up spending your time keeping in touch and staying updated. You talk about your kids and your investments instead of pumping iron.

It costs good money and eats up precious time to get to the gym. Some people stay in better shape by working out at home and getting involved in a hobby or activity that keeps you together with the people you want to be with.

I need a personal trainer to get the health results I want. Unless you have a medical condition or injury, you don’t need a trainer to sweat a little. To stay healthy, we probably have to exercise more and eat less. Go to a discount store like Costco and pick up some weights and use them regularly. If you want to lose weight, you’ll probably have to focus on what you eat in order to get the results you are looking for.

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I just heard about a miracle diet. I’m going to buy that book today. There are hundreds of great books about healthful diets. They pretty much all say the same thing: Lay off the junk food and dig into vegetables and fruits. When it comes to food, we know what we need to do. We don’t need more knowledge. We need more action. If you insist on buying books, buy a good one second hand. Don’t collect diet books.

If you really want to see health results, forget the books and get a food accountability partner. Find a good friend you feel comfortable with, work out a food plan, and report your successes and failures to him or her every week. You’ll get tremendous results and the best part about this, of course, is that it’s free.

I need to spend money on equipment if I want to see results. You’ll get a lot more out of a good workout DVD that you actually use than an expensive piece of exercise equipment that just sits there. I recently bought a few DVDs that my daughter recommended and I found them terrific. I use them daily and I’ve gotten better results than I have with my equipment or a trainer. Even though I’m probably not doing the exercises exactly right, I’m doing them a lot more often and that more than makes up for any imperfections in form. If you find a good program that motivates you it’s much more valuable than an expensive piece of equipment you seldom use.

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We often throw money at health and fitness challenges as a proxy for actually doing the hard work. But you don’t need more equipment, books, or trainers to stay in shape. You simply need to eat less and exercise more.

Neal Frankle is a certified financial planner and runs Wealth Pilgrim, a personal finance blog that helps people make smart decisions about their money. As a start, he suggests that you strive to understand your credit score range.