This time of year people are focusing on getting in shape and following through on New Year's resolutions. Maybe you got a new gym membership or are trying to cut down on junk food once and for all, but what about your financial fitness?

Here are key steps you can take to become more financially fit this year.

Exercise Reduces Risks

According to the American Diabetes Association, physical activity helps to improve your health in a number of ways, including lowering your blood pressure, lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, as well as improving circulation and relieving stress levels.

They also say that regular exercise helps keeps bones, joints and your heart strong, which could mean you’re less likely to suffer from injuries, rehabilitation services and costly surgeries that could eat up a chunk of your retirement savings.

Eating Healthy Can Mean Lower Costs

While you can surely spend an arm and a leg on expensive health foods and drinks at a smoothie bar, cooking a healthy meal at home for your family can cost only a fraction of a meal out on the town.

Restaurants typically cook their food in lots of oil, butter and salt, which is why it can taste so good, but all of those fats and sodium can be detrimental to your health, especially if you’re eating out on a regular basis. By cutting down on how often you eat out, you can also save big on those restaurant bills and get the added benefit of knowing exactly what’s going into the meals you and your family enjoy together.

Drink More Water

Whether you’re eating out or sitting at home, choosing water over a sugary drink or alcoholic beverage can make a big impact on your bottom line and your waist line. It’s well known that drinking eight glasses of water a day is good for our bodies and can help raise our metabolism, helping us lose weight, but think about how much money it could save you as well.

Instead of buying a cocktail or a glass of soda pop on your next night out, order water and watch your total bill drop. Consider drinking more water at home as well to cut down on grocery bills as well.

Being Healthy Means Cheaper Long-Term Care Insurance

One of the biggest ways being healthy can save you money is later in life when it’s time to apply for long-term care insurance.  Long-term care insurance can help you to pay for needed medical care, like home health aides, long-term nursing home care and assisted living facilities. The healthier you are when you apply, the more likely you’ll be approved for long-term care and the lower your premiums may be.

If you decide not to get a long-term care insurance policy, staying healthy throughout your lifetime is just as beneficial because it helps lower the likelihood of needing the long-term care that can cause your retirement to go off track. The more you can do now to stay on top of your health, the better you, and your bank account, will feel down the road.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

This article was originally published on Jan. 12, 2019 in the Pioneer Press.

Peg Chromy Webb

Peg Chromy Webb

Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor & Host of the “Your Money” radio show

Peg Chromy Webb has specialized in financial consulting for more than 30 years and is a popular co-host of the “Your Money” Radio Show. She is passionate about financial education and shares her expertise on career-building and financial literacy through various charitable endeavors.