If it seems to you like nutritious food and quality workout gear costs a small fortune these days, don’t despair. You don’t need to be a billionaire to get fit and improve your health. There are numerous ways you can work out and eat well while still living within your means. The following are 6 ideas for getting healthy and fit on a tight budget:

1. Skip the Gym to Avoid Acquiring a New Monthly Bill

The gym might be one of the most obvious and convenient places to get in an effective workout, but it isn’t the only possibility. There are many smart alternatives:

 

  • Go for a walk or a run around your neighborhood every morning.
  • If there’s a free or cheap place to go swimming in your area, take advantage of it: A beach, lake or public swimming pool could all work well for this purpose.
  • Head to the local park for your daily workout.
  • Buy a few workout DVDs or download a free workout regiment online. Pick up some cheap dumbbells. Work out at home.
  • Master free exercises like push-ups, leg lifts and sit-ups that involve lifting your own body weight. You can do these at home or anywhere.
  • Work out with a friend whose condo or apartment building has a weight room.
  • Ride your bike to work or to do errands.
  • If your workplace offers an employee fitness program, use it.
  • Go out dancing with your girlfriend or wife at least once a week. While this activity probably won’t be totally free, you get bonus points for stretching the same dollars to cover two categories: your cardio workout plus date night. To keep costs down, you can choose a dance club that doesn’t ask for a cover charge.

2. Get All the Sleep Your Body Requires

Sleep is completely free, and it’s essential for optimum health. Recent studies have revealed a correlation between lack of adequate sleep and numerous health conditions you want to avoid. These include obesity, hypertension, depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. When you get tired and run down, you also reach a state of increased vulnerability to less serious illnesses like the flu. So don’t hesitate to get in bed at a reasonable hour each night. Also feel free to take power naps to refresh your energy when you need to.

3. Head for the Kitchen Rather Than Your Favorite Restaurant

Preparing your meals at home is a much more affordable choice than dining out. Becoming your own chef also gives you complete control over each ingredient you’re putting into your body. This is hard to achieve at a restaurant without being perceived as a complete pain-in-the-neck customer. Even if you’re lucky enough to live close to a conscientious health food restaurant that prints ingredient lists for each dish on their menu, eating at such a restaurant frequently is likely to break your budget. For the health-conscious individual, eating at home is truly the most practical option.

If you’re not already an accomplished chef, keep in mind that you don’t have to get impatient about mastering every aspect of cooking. Start with the easy stuff: Chop up a fresh salad, or grab a raw snack that doesn’t require you to touch the stove. Slice open an avocado, sprinkle some salt and lemon juice on it and devour it. Grab a handful of mixed nuts. Then learn how to concoct a few easy and nutritious dietary essentials like smoothies and shakes. These are reasonably foolproof to make, and they can become the backbone of your diet until you have a chance to learn more about cooking.

There are numerous ways you can learn how to cook for free:

  • Ask a knowledgeable friend to teach you.
  • Watch healthy cooking shows on TV or online.
  • Look at cooking tutorials and grab some free recipes on the internet.
  • Go to the library and check out a variety of cookbooks.

What Should You Learn How to Prepare?

  • Start by learning to cook the healthiest of the dishes you usually like to eat.
  • Consuming enough veggies is a challenge for most people, so learning how to prepare healthy vegetable dishes would be a smart thing to do.
  • Next, learn how to prepare some powerhouse dishes that will supply you with plenty of protein and other nutrients. Some possibilities include omelets, baked chicken, grilled salmon and lentil-vegetable soup.

4. Learn How to Avoid Harmful Toxins That Will Destroy Your Health

New evidence is coming to light that there’s more to obesity than simple overeating and inactivity. Scientists are discovering that there has been a breakdown in the body’s normal weight-control mechanisms in growing numbers of individuals around the world. They’ve determined that toxins are the most likely cause of this breakdown. There is definitely a link between obesity and environmental toxins. So if you’re having a hard time getting fit and lean despite making an effort to eat well and exercise regularly, it’s likely that toxins could be a contributing factor to your struggles.

You live surrounded by toxins. They’re in the weed killers you or your neighbors are spraying on the lawns in your neighborhood. They’re in the paint on your walls. They’re in the food you eat. It’s impossible to completely avoid them all, but you’ll want to reduce your exposure to them as much as possible. Here are some ideas for how to accomplish that:

  • Filter your tap water before cooking with it or drinking it.
  • Familiarize yourself with the foods that contain high levels of pesticide contamination; avoid consuming excessive amounts of them unless you buy the organic versions. These include strawberries, potatoes, peppers and numerous others.
  • Buy fresh rather than canned foods.
  • Store and reheat your food in glass dishes or jars rather than plastic containers. This will help you avoid consuming the harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals that can be present in plastics.
  • Do your housecleaning with harmless, chemical-free ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar.
  • Avoid spraying chemicals on your lawn, your furnishings, your pets or your body.

5. Learn How to Grow Your Own Nutritious Produce

Healthy home-cooked food is more affordable than most restaurant fare, but it can still get to be expensive. There are limits on how much money you can save by cooking at home — even if you use grocery coupons, buy food in bulk and shop when the items you need are on sale. Growing your own produce is much more affordable, and it can allow you to have greater control over the fertilizers and other inputs used.

If you have space for a garden in your backyard, you can significantly reduce your spending on groceries while also enjoying fresher vegetables. Even if you’re an apartment dweller, you can probably find a way to start a balcony garden or install some window boxes for growing herbs.

6. Actively Work at Preventing Health Conditions to Save Money in the Long Run

According to the Center for Disease Control, 20-40 percent of the most common fatal diseases and health conditions are preventable.

You’re probably well aware that smoking causes emphysema, lung disease and lung cancer, so it would be wise to give up your cigarettes if you’re a smoker. You probably also know that drinking excess alcohol can cause numerous health problems including liver disease; so if you drink, reducing your alcohol consumption would be beneficial. A bonus would be that if you stop smoking or drinking, you’ll free up a lot of money in your budget; you could re-allocate this money and use it to buy things like running shoes, workout gear and health food.

It’s also important to keep in mind that health conditions and accidents are not all preventable, so excellent health insurance coverage is a necessity. You’ll want to compare health insurance options to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth from your spending on this expense.

These 6 ideas can help you in your quest to get fit and healthy, even if you’re on a super tight budget. Taking action on any or all of these ideas could help you improve your health even at times when you have to carefully monitor your expenses.

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