Health or wealth, what comes first? Doesn’t having lots of money make it easier to live a healthy lifestyle? After all, you need money for a gym membership; to buy the exotic vegetables and fancy fish (fish is very healthy); to afford sleeping in and to pay a therapist when the stress becomes too high. Moreover, health care is very expensive in Zimbabwe, with a regular check-up requiring a strong pocket. It seems rich people can afford to live a healthy lifestyle, and when you’re still building wealth, you need every penny you can get. Except…money can’t buy health, once it’s gone. If it could, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and so forth would only kill the poor, but even rich people are not impervious.

So do you work extremely hard, sacrificing your health to build wealth, then try and be healthy later? Or do you try to lead a healthy life, at the risk of decreasing the time you can dedicate to chasing your vision? Health and wealth are intricately linked, and greatly impact each other. Research shows that, just thinking that you’re in control of your financial situation can make you healthier and happier. Health isn’t only about the physical body, but mental wellness too. Building substantial wealth whilst suffering poor health is a difficult task. It’s a different story when you’re healthier however. Healthy people are more energetic, therefore can be more productive; which can result in better quality of work, leading to more revenue; which can finance an even healthier lifestyle; and the cycle begins again. Good health seems to be a fair starting point when trying to build wealth.

How being healthy can help you earn more money

Research has shown over and over again that physical exercise has a direct impact on your mood and energy levels. Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day can boost your mood and give you a rush of energy for up to 12 hours afterwards. Having more energy can mean getting more work done, in a shorter period of time. Exercise also protects your brain from dementia and other age related illnesses as you get older. Mental and emotional wellness is also essential to building a successful businesses and a hefty bank account. Depressed, anxious, apathetic or highly stressed people will not function properly, slowing down their progress. Highly stressed people tend to burnout; depression can drain all energy from an individual; anxiety impedes good decision making; and apathetic people are incredibly indifferent to what’s happening around them. Mentally healthy individuals are able to connect and communicate with others well, a potentially important quality in the quest for riches.

Leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t just for the rich, and doesn’t have to cost a great deal of money. In fact, there are numerous ways to stay healthy without blowing through a chunk of cash. Because Zimbabwe has an agro-based economy, fresh, organic food is not insanely expensive, and can be found for cheap prices at fruit and vegetable markets.

Affordable ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle

  1. Free workouts

For physical exercise, a gym membership isn’t always necessary; there are ways to exercise without spending a cent. Consider walking or jogging in the early morning hours, or early evenings. Dig up an old pair of shorts, tracksuit or tights, and a shirt or vest; paired with a pair of sneakers and you’re ready to go. Some people like to listen to music or podcasts when exercising, some don’t, but you’ll quickly figure out what works for you. You can pair this up with body weight exercises, where you use your own body weight instead of weights found in a gym to workout. If you can spare the cash, you can buy aerobic disks to watch and imitate as well.

  1. Eating healthy food

As an agricultural country, fresh food crops, vegetables and fruits are not difficult to find. A wide variety of food can be found at very cheap prices at food markets like Mbare. Fresh fish (which is healthy) is also easy to acquire, because it farmed in bulk in places like Kariba. Cutting down on sugar and fast food is another way to live a healthy lifestyle. Avoid putting too much sugar in your tea or coffee, and stay away from soft drinks altogether. Choose unrefined brown rice, over the rice commonly found in stores, and avoid refined white mealie meal. Prepare a packed lunch for work to avoid buying fast food at lunch time (this little trick also saves you a bit of money).

  1. Hydrate!

Drink lots of water during the day. Make sure the water is clean, and safe, because Zimbabwe has a bad history with Cholera. Carry around a bottle of fresh, clean water when you’re moving around, and be sure to drink it. Water flushes out toxins from your system, and is essential for a ton of other different things in your body. Just drink it.

  1. Get enough sleep

Sleeping allows your body and mind to recuperate. Your mind doesn’t shut down entirely, but sleeping can help bring a new perspective to a problem that may have been haunting you. Whilst your mind might not rest entirely, the supporting physical organ, the brain also needs to rest and recover. Getting enough sleep allows you to wake up energetic the following day. Research suggests that you need an average of about 8hours of sleep a day. Without sleep, you become vulnerable to exhaustion flus, headaches, low energy and then experience poor productivity because of that.

No amount of money can buy full health once it’s lost, and some damage is irreversible. In the quest for wealth, it’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, otherwise all those riches, once earned, will be spent entirely on medical bills. It’s also very hard to enjoy that hard earned from the grave.