Personal trainers, juice cleanses, expensive athleticwear—improving your health might seem like a costly endeavor. However, most of the flashy diets and health tips aren’t exactly necessary. At the end of the day, we’re all human, which means we have natural resources around us that we can use to maintain our health without putting a hole in our wallet.
If you’re looking to improve your lifestyle without breaking the bank, you’re in luck. Below, we’ll go over our top four tips to improve your health on a budget.
1. Cut out bad habits
One of the easiest ways to improve your health without spending all of your hard-earned cash is by cutting out bad habits that aren’t good for you.
For example, if you smoke cigarettes, try quitting—not only will your health improve, but you’ll be saving money by not spending upwards of $15 on a pack of cigarettes. However, quitting cold turkey can be extremely challenging. One way to achieve this goal is by slowly limiting the number of smoke breaks you take and switching to e-cigarettes. While there are numerous myths about e-cigarettes, they can actually help smokers quit because they act as a form of replacement therapy. Then, if you still have the urge to smoke, you can switch to CBD vapes that contain no nicotine at all, and can actually improve your health by reducing stress, alleviating inflammation, and much more.
Other bad habits that might be detrimental to your health include drinking alcohol, or not getting any exercise at all. While the occasional beer with the boys during Sunday night football is completely acceptable, drinking excessively can lead to weight gain and hurt vital organs like your liver.
For those who have trouble finding the motivation to exercise, start out small by just going for a walk twice a day for 15-30 minutes. An activity tracker, such as a smartwatch, can help you count your steps and remind you to get active.
2. Take advantage of the outdoors
Forget $100/month gym memberships or private personal trainers. Through your front door is a world of opportunities when it comes to improving your health. Some ways you can take advantage of the outdoors include:
- Hiking: Take a visit to a local park or take a weekend trip to the wilderness with friends or family. Hiking is relatively affordable—all you need is a good pair of hiking boots or shoes, comfortable clothing depending on the weather, and snacks! To find places to hike, use apps like AllTrails, or do a quick Google search for places nearby.
- Running: You may have made an oath to never run a mile again after your final gym class in high school. However, now that the pressure is off, now’s a good time to lace up some running shoes and explore your local area. Running is an excellent way to stay in shape, destress after a long day, and find hidden gems in your area you may have overlooked otherwise.
- Cycling: If pounding the pavement isn’t calling your name, try its sister exercise out for a spin. Cycling is similar to running, in that it’s great for cardiovascular health. You don’t need to spend thousands on a Tour-de-France winner—there are plenty of places you can find an affordable bike, such as OfferUp, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
- Outdoor Workouts: If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a gym membership, do your own free outdoor workouts. With a little bit of creativity, you can grow your muscles while getting some sunlight. For example, try doing “box” jumps on a retaining wall, hold a heavy rock and do squats, do stair repeats at a local park—the options are endless as long as your mind’s open to new ideas.
As you can see, the great outdoors is an excellent way to improve your health without spending all of your savings. Just find an activity that makes you happy and keeps you active, and you’ll be good to go.
3. Partake in at-home workouts
As we’ve alluded to, gym memberships can be extremely costly. Fortunately, there are countless ways you can get stronger right in the comfort of your own home. And don’t worry—there’s no need for expensive gym equipment. This is because there are thousands of free at-home exercise classes you can find right online.
To take advantage of virtual exercise classes, all you need is your laptop, smartphone, or tablet and conduct a quick YouTube or Google search, and you’ll be good to go. Depending on your preferences, you can find any type of exercise you’re interested in. For example, if you really want to get your heart pumping, search for a free at-home HIIT class that targets specific muscle groups with limited breaks. Or, if you’re more interested in focusing on your mental health and certain areas of your body, there are numerous free yoga classes you can watch.
4. Cook at home
Depending on your schedule, finding time to cook for yourself might not be possible. However, with a few tweaks to your schedule, you can meal prep and cook lunch and dinner that lasts you all week. While dining out or ordering take out is always nice, you never know all the ingredients that are going into your body.
For example, ordering fast food might be cheap, but there can be a lot of sodium and fats that aren’t good for your health. And, while ordering cheap takeout food might sound like a good money move, it can actually add up pretty fast compared to cooking meals at home. This is because when you cook at home, you can cook with more ingredients that can last for several meals.
As you start cooking at home, invest in a few cookbooks that pique your interests (and your taste buds!). Then, create a grocery list and focus on non-processed whole foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. These items are jam-packed with vital nutrients and minerals that are excellent for your overall health.
Improving your health doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. While you might think a membership to the best gym in town and the latest gym equipment and attire are necessary, there are plenty of cheaper or free alternatives that provide the same benefit. From taking advantage of the outdoors to cooking nutritious meals at home, these are just some of the ways you can improve your health on a budget.