Ever wonder what wealthy people’s secret to success is? Turns out, it’s not just being business-savvy, but also making health a top priority. As the saying goes, “The greatest wealth is health”—and rich people in particular seem to have taken this to heart.Accountant Tom Corley of the Rich Habits Institute in Rahway, New Jersey, decided to take a peek into the day-to-day habits of the wealthy to find out what exactly they’re doing differently. He interviewed 233 wealthy American men and women ages 42 to 85, who made $160,000 or more per year and had $3.2 million or more in net liquid assets, and then analyzed their daily habits, comparing them to the behaviors of low-income people, who made $35,000 or less per year and had $5,000 or less in liquid assets.“It was the little things the wealthy did—their healthy behaviors—that made all of the difference,” says Corley. “That shocked me because I grew up poor and didn’t know about wealthy people, but I had a preconceived notion of the ‘fat cats,’ drinking cocktails, smoking cigars and being out of shape. But they were in great health.”Here are the 8 healthy habits wealthy people have in common:
1. They work out four days a week. Corley’s research showed that a whopping 76 percent of wealthy people engage in physical activity—primarily aerobic exercise—for 30 minutes or more, four days a week. And breaking a sweat is loaded with benefits: more energy, less stress, better moods and sleep, lower risk of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, and a steamier sex life.
2. They eat less junk food. Seventy percent of the wealthy eat less than 300 calories’ worth of junk food per day, while Corley found that 97 percent of low-income people consume more than that. And only 25 percent of wealthy people eat at fast food restaurants three or more times a week compared to nearly 70 percent of low income people. That may be because fast food seems like the cheaper option when it can actually be inexpensive to buy healthy foods and cook them at home (not to mention doing so saves you from costly health issues down the road, such as heart problems). Check out these tips on eating healthy for just $36 per week and even eating organic on a budget.
3. They sleep seven hours a night. A whopping 89 percent of wealthy people sleep an average of seven hours or more per night. That means they’re reaping sleep’s health and beauty benefits, as well as the mental ones: Sleep is crucial to learning and memory, as well as being focused and productive, which keeps you at the top of your game at work. Not getting enough sleep, on the other hand, ages your skin faster, makes you crave junk food, and saps your motivation to workout and tackle your “to-do” list.
4. They don’t get drunk. Only 13 percent of wealthy people got drunk in the past 30 days, according to Corley’s survey, compared to 60 percent of low-income people. What’s more, 84 percent of wealthy folks drink two glasses of alcohol per day or less. And that gives them a health boost: Research shows that people who have one to two drinks per day tend to live longer and have fewer heart problems than those who have more or less.
5. They watch less than an hour of TV a day (and not reality shows). Corley found that nearly 70 percent of the wealthy watch one hour or less of TV every day and a mere 6 percent watch reality TV, compared to nearly 80 percent of low-income people. Instead, the rich spend more time reading. In fact, almost 90 percent of wealthy people said they love to read and spend 30 minutes or more reading books on education, career or self-improvement every day.
6. They count their calories. Nearly 60 percent of wealthy people watch the calories they eat, keeping their weight in check. Want to scale back your calories? Avoid drinking your calories and go easy on your lunch break. Research shows that eating light at lunch can help you lose weight without causing you to overeat later on.
7. They floss daily. More than 60 percent of wealthy people floss every day, which reduces the likelihood of health problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. Flossing can even help you get out of debt.
8. They eschew sweets. Only 28 percent of wealthy people nibble on candy more than twice a week. The majority (about 70 percent) consume even less than that. Got a sugar craving? Grab a small square or two of dark chocolate, which is loaded with heart-friendly antioxidants.