The Christmas treats may be mostly eaten, but too many Proseccos and Quality Streets may have taken their toll on your waistline. Your wallet is likely to be feeling fairly flat though, even if your belly isn’t. Here are some ideas for cheap ways to get healthy this new year.
Everybody knows that exercise makes you feel loads better. We all understand the benefits of a good diet as well. It’s just that sometimes it’s hard to get started. The new year is the perfect time to find your motivation!
Write down your goals
If you want to stick to your new year’s goals it can be helpful to write them down. Put them where you can see them. By the kettle or on the fridge door are good spots.
This is my favourite way to keep fit. I love to get outside in the fresh air, whatever the weather. Apart from a comfy pair of shoes and a warm jacket, walking is free. If you choose a good route it can be interesting too.
We started the new year with a 6.5 mile hike yesterday. Our aim is to take a walk of at least 5 miles each weekend.
I wish I was close enough to the office to walk there and back each day. I aim to do a brisk mile at least three times a week over lunchtime. If you can build walking into your day it won’t even feel like exercise.
We use Map My Walk to record our mileage. It’s a great free little app if your budget isn’t up to a Fitbit or similar.
I am not a runner. I have dodgy knees! Otherwise I would be very tempted by the NHS’s Couch to 5K, a nine-week running plan for beginners. There is so much great information on this site to help you get fit for the price of a decent pair of running shoes.
Whatever form of exercise you want to try, there will be a You Tube channel with some bouncy young thing showing you the way. From yoga (my exercise of choice) to aerobics, from pilates to boxercise, it is more than possible to do a full work out from the comfort of your own home. I found this article, which gives suggestions of some of the best You Tube workout channels.
Eat less sugar
There is much evidence to prove that high levels of sugar are bad for your health. From John Yudkin’s classic book Pure, White and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What We Can Do to Stop It* to a recent NHS report suggesting we should all halve our sugar intake, there is good reason to at least cut back.
Last March I went sugar free for a month. I felt very much better. The biggest surprise was the improvement in my IBS symptoms. However, I have gradually allowed my sugar consumption to rise, especially over Christmas. I don’t intend to go completely sugar free, but I am going to reduce the amount I eat dramatically.
If you want a bit more inspiration, a few years ago Zoe over at Eco Thrifty Living lost 16 lbs giving up sugar.
Eat your five a day
I know some people think it is too hard to get their five a day on a budget. I don’t believe this to be true and blogged about it here. Meat is expensive! An apple is cheaper than a chocolate bar, and frozen fruit and vegetables are excellent value.
I find it easy to get my five a day because I incorporate fruit and vegetables into my meal plans. It is easier still since I decided to become vegetarian. I always take a couple of pieces of fruit to work and often a home made vegetable soup, so that’s three portions with very little effort. I dollop a bit of stewed apple or a chopped banana on my morning porridge then have some veg or a salad with dinner.
Get more sleep
This is something I struggle with. As a long term insomniac sleep sometimes eludes me. I make the situation worse by crashing on the sofa when I am tired in the evenings. Annoyingly, I often spring into life when I go up to my bed!
My New Year’s resolution is definitely to tackle my insomnia. Sleep hygiene is key. Not eating late at night, turning off my phone and PC a good half hour before I go to bed, getting more exercise and avoiding stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine can help with good sleep.
If you sleep well, you function better in the day – it’s common sense to try to get your 7-8 hours a night.
A regular meditation practice has many benefits. It helps with anxiety and depression, can improve sleep and gives you a more positive outlook on life. There has even been some research done suggesting it can lower blood pressure.
I have times when I practice meditation most days and then I don’t do it for weeks. I know I feel better with a 10 minute meditation at the end of my yoga practice.
A really great little free app I have found is Calm. The reason I like this so much is that a soothing voice takes you through short or longer relaxation sessions. All you have to do is find a little time and a quiet place to sit.
The app offers 7 days of calm, 7 days of sleep, 7 days of gratitude, etc. I can’t recommend this enough.
Drink more water
We are always being told to drink more water, but how many of us actually do this? If I allow myself to get dehydrated I get tired, grumpy and my head starts to throb. I keep a big glass bottle of the stuff on my desk at work and make sure I drink throughout the day.
It is claimed that drinking lots of water helps keep your skin clear, prevents constipation and makes you feel fuller – great if you are trying to lose weight. If you want a boost, drink plenty of water. It is free from the tap, although I tend to filter it.
Give up smoking
I hate to preach so I will keep this brief. Smoking is literally burning money and makes your body more susceptible to many cancers and diseases. If you want to give up, the NHS has some good advice here.
What are your cheap ways to get healthy?
So these are my cheap ways to get healthy in the new year. What are your tips for getting fit on a budget? I would love to hear them so please add a comment.
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