Blog - Written by on Sunday, October 11, 2009 16:48

A Bad Economy Can Be Good for You

By Stephanie Miles,

Lost your job? Here’s some good news: Mortality rates are going down, since unemployed workers are less likely to catch illnesses from coworkers or be involved in commuter-related car accidents, and more likely to spend time doing healthy things like exercising in the outdoors and eating at home. That’s definitely an upside. Here’s how the recession is good for your health:

1. No more germy coworkers. Office cubicles can be a cesspool for germs, and with cases of H1N1 on the rise, this may not be such a bad time to be unemployed. Not only that, but unemployed and at-home workers are less likely to take public transportation during rush hour, reducing their chances of catching something during cold and flu season even more.

2. More incentive to quit smoking. With less discretionary income to spend on cigarettes, smoking is becoming a luxury not everyone can afford. In Great Britain, 39 percent of smokers polled said they’re planning to cut down on or quit smoking because of the economic downturn. Meanwhile, Washington State’s Tobacco Quit Line says it experienced a spike in calls during April 2009: 4,221 calls compared to 1,231 during the same time last year.

3. Cooking at home is healthier. Eating out on a nightly basis isn’t just bad for your wallet; it can be bad for your waistline, too. For millions of American families, the recession has changed eating habits, leading more to opt for cooking at home more during the past year. Home cooked meals tend to have fewer calories than those you’d find on restaurant menus and are less likely to be laden in trans-fat and other unhealthy ingredients, making it easier to slim down and stay healthy.

4. More free time to exercise. One of the biggest excuses people use to not exercise is that they don’t have enough time. Luckily, unemployed folks don’t have that concern since they have all the time in the world to hit the road and jog away the pounds. (Also see our Frugal Fitness series for more low-cost exercise options.)

5. Fewer traffic accidents. The overall number of traffic fatalities has dropped since the recession began, “perhaps because rising unemployment means fewer people commute to work or because people are trying to save on gas,” according to Time. Whatever the cause may be, a decrease in chances of being seriously hurt in a car crash is a positive for everyone.


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