It sounds so cliche, but many people are focusing on how they will improve their health and wellness now that we’re in a new year.
To be honest, I don’t blame them, and I actually fall into that camp as well.
Your health should be a top priority because you can’t meet many of your other goals if you aren’t in good health.
Often times, we prioritize other things over our body and as a result, our health suffers.
If you are ready to turn over a new leaf this year and start improving your health and becoming fitter, I’m right there with you.
Here are a few ways you can do it without busting your budget.
Commit to Doing More Physical Activity
Your first step is to become more active. This doesn’t always mean heading to the gym. If you’re not a gym person or don’t want to spend money on an expensive membership, you can always take action at home or outside in your neighborhood for free.
Take daily walks, jog in the morning or evening, and watch exercise YouTube videos at home for free.
The key is finding a schedule and sticking to it. If you prefer to work out in the morning, block out at least 30 minutes a few days each week to get your workout done. See if a friend can partner with you to help motivate you.
You can also download free mobile apps to keep you on track. My Fitness Pal is a great app for tracking your daily activity and diet.
Another free app you can use for exercise routines is the Nike Training App. This free app is designed for women and features routines from professional fitness trainers and athletes. You can select your goal and complete workouts that are targeted to you.
Consider Working Out at Your Local Park District
Do you often lose motivation to exercise as the year goes on? I have a lot of trouble with working out on my own so I decided to get a gym membership last year. I actually signed up for two separate gyms, but before you write off going to the gym completely, explore affordable options in your area.
On most personal finance websites, people will argue against having a gym membership and claim that it’s an unnecessary expense. I agree that if you can’t make the minimum payments on your debt or pay your light bill that you probably shouldn’t have a gym membership, but since health is a major priority for me, a gym membership is a must nowadays.
If you really value it, you should make room in your budget for the expense. On the bright side, heading to the gym doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg each month.
You don’t have to go to one of those fancy gyms with state-of-the-art equipment, flat screen T.V.s, and an upscale cafe. My gym membership is only $36 per month and it includes unlimited access to the fitness room and track 7 days a week, and unlimited access to group fitness classes.
I actually get more value out of the group fitness classes because the instructor ensures I challenge myself and get a good workout.
Check to see what the prices are for a membership at your local park district or the YMCA. There are also cheap memberships at fitness centers like Anytime Fitness.
Just make sure you’re going to the gym and getting your money’s worth. Paying for a membership actually motivates me to get up and go workout even when I don’t want to.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water is something easy and free that you can do to improve your health. Water has no calories and hydrates your body better than any other beverage.
I used to have trouble with drinking water because I was addicted to sugary drinks. However, I started infusing my water with fruit and it made all the difference. Now, I just buy a lemon or some strawberries to infuse my water to add some extra flavor to it, and I’m less likely to reach for the sugary drinks.
You can get an inexpensive infused water bottle on Amazon, and then simply remove all the other drinks from your home so you can get healthier.Click To Tweet
Get Enough Sleep
This is easier said than done, but it’s important to get the proper amount of rest each night if you want to look and feel healthier.
If your schedule is too packed and it’s affecting your sleep schedule, it’s time to let something go. Re-evaluate your priorities and try to get at least 8 hours of sleep, whether it’s waking up later or going to bed earlier.
I know that sometimes the hustle calls, but I’ve learned first hand that can take a toll on your body. Before I started sleeping more I felt so busy that I’d only get 6 hours of sleep each night if I was lucky.
By Friday, I was so worn out that I’d come home and sleep for hours just to catch up. Once you make sleeping more of a priority, you’ll start to have more energy to exercise and do other things.
Substitute Your Trouble Foods for Better Alternatives
I’m not a big fan of diets, so I can’t really say what the next big fad will be this year. If you are trying to lose weight, there’s just one simple formula to follow. You need to burn 3,500 calories in order to lose 1 pound per week. That essentially means you need to burn around 500 calories per day.
You don’t have to run a marathon to do it either. Changing your eating habits will provide a big benefit. No need to commit to a fad diet or start making nasty juices.
Simply lower your intake of your problem foods or get rid of them completely and watch your portions.
I used to have it stuck in my head that I had to clear my plate entirely before I stopped eating. That’s what my parents always taught me growing up. However, restaurants tend to serve large portions, so I realized I needed to stop eating once I feel full and put the rest of my food aside for later.
Trouble foods are those high in fat, calories, and artificial flavoring and basically do nothing nutritious for the body.
My guilty pleasure foods were sugary drinks like lemonade, sour candy, and popcorn. Since an 8 fl. oz. glass of lemonade is probably around 100-140 calories and packed with sugar, I was easily on my way to cutting 500 calories for the day by skipping the several cups of juice I’d drink.
Swapping your troubled foods out for healthier alternatives doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either. I ditched juice for water, traded candy for fresh fruit and raw nuts, and while popcorn is hard to give up, I still eat it sometimes, but choose to snack on pomegranate seeds instead when I watch a movie.
Don’t Try to Recreate the Wheel
Improving your health and wellness this year will be a challenge, but you don’t have to make it complicated for your finances. Don’t try to recreate the wheel with expensive fad diets, protein powders, and activities.
Focus on becoming more active and eating better. Instead of going cold turkey on your favorite unhealthy foods, enjoy them as a rare treat and swap them out for healthier alternatives that fit your budget.
How do you plan to keep up with your health and wellness goals?