Several years ago, I found myself in a position I had never before envisioned: in debt. A combination of student loans, frivolous spending habits, and a general cost of living that was difficult on my income all coalesced to drive my bills higher and higher. Unable to pay, I consolidated them and resolved to crack down and pay them back. And, for a while, I did: I lived a far more frugal lifestyle and began chipping away, slowly, at my debt. I had turned the corner.
But being in debt is just as much a state of affairs as a state of being. Debt sits not only on your budget and on your bottom line, but it also hovers above you everywhere you go and with every purchase that you make. Although my debt was decreasing in amount it was no less weighty in the burden it imposed on me. I was capable of paying it off, I knew that I didn’t need a bankruptcy lawyer, but the debt still gave me a growing feeling of hopelessness. I began to wonder whether I would ever become debt-free.
It was exercise that helped me reverse course, change my attitude, and ultimately pay off my debt. I started small with the occasional jog or trip to the gym. Within a month, however, I was working out daily and I never again looked back. I am now debt-free. Here’s how exercise helped me get there:
Studies have shown that people who regularly exercise are generally more relaxed and less stressed. When you’re trying to slowly chip away at a mountain of debt, both of these qualities are highly desirable. Whenever I began to worry about my debt or feel disparaged about its persistence, I would go out for a run and usually change my attitude. This allowed me to tackle my debt issue instead of becoming overwhelmed and skirting it.
On a more concrete level, I quickly turned my passion for exercise into a cost-cutting measure by running to work every morning. Doing so gave me the freedom to forgo my car and the expensive gas and maintenance costs that go with it.
As someone who has experienced intermittent health issues in the past, I am fully aware that even one problem can translate into thousands of dollars of medical fees. In fact, a sickness shortly after I started paying off my debt left me far deeper in the hole than I had ever been before. Exercise has helped me insure that this hole gets no deeper. I have been perfectly healthy since I’ve started running every day. This has, I believe, substantially reduced my health costs.
These are the major ways in which exercise helped me pay off my debt on both a mental and a financial level. If you are in debt, and if you have recently found yourself feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, an exercise regimen may be just what you need.