How to Get Healthy For Free
By Caroline Schley, eHow Contributor
updated: August 12, 2010
Get Healthy For Free
Everybody wants a crisp, fresh start: slimmer hips, better health and less stress in their lives than they had in the aughts. It’s easy to promise yourself you will get healthy with a brand-new trainer, a membership at the hottest yoga studio in town and a diet filled with nothing but organic fruits and vegetables.
But as we head into the new year, you will realize each resolution carries a hefty price tag. With your bank account still smarting a bit from Christmas spending and your reserve accounts low due to the recession, now may not be the time to create more financial commitments for yourself.
Don’t let a lack of cash interfere with your well-intentioned motivation! There are lots of great, easy ways to get fit, wholesome and healthy without spending a dime.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
1 Join the library.
Join your local library to connect to a great health and fitness resource. Check out low-fat cookbooks and copy your favorite recipes. Browse through the exercise books and fitness magazines to collect training tips. Spin through the video/DVD section to see if your library has any fitness DVDs that you can borrow.
Many libraries have games available; take home a game of Pictionary, Twister or Cranium and burn some calories after dinner instead of vegging out in front of the TV. Check out craft books to pick up a hobby that keeps idle, snacking hands busy, like sewing, knitting or origami. Your library also may have a community board full of people interested in starting walking groups, committing to bike trips, taking garden tours or wanting to volunteer in the community. It’s a surefire way to fit in a little (free) exercise while getting to know your neighbors.
Flossing every day may help keep your blood pressure down and your heart healthy. Scientists from Columbia University published a study in medical periodical Circulation in 2005 that found a correlation between patients who suffered from gum disease and oral plaque build up and patients with increased carotid artery wall thickness.
The researchers concluded this might mean that people who have gum disease are at greater risk of developing atherosclerosis and heart disease. Negate your risk and stay healthy with studious, daily brushing and flossing.
3 Take a hike.
You don’t need to sign up for an expensive gym in order to get fit this year. You don’t even need to buy any home equipment. Good, old-fashioned push-ups and sit-ups accompanied by a walking or jogging plan will keep you in great shape all year round.
Start with three sets of 10 standard push-ups and 100 sit-ups followed by 20 minutes of walking or running. Complete the routine three to four times a week. You can vary the muscle groups you target in push-ups by moving your legs away from or toward each other. Sit-ups can target different muscle groups depending on how they are performed – check out additional tips in fitness magazines at the library.
4 Write it down.
Record your daily exercise and food intake in a journal or logbook. Note duration of exercise, long-term exercise goals, how long you took to eat each meal and what your emotional state was before eating. Within a few days you will have pegged down how what time of day you are most likely to exercise and identify some of your emotional eating triggers. You can use this information to help evolve your health and fitness habits.
5 Surf the ‘net.
Heed the call of technology. There are tons of fitness resources available on the Web, from healthy food coupons to free, online calorie counters and exercise routines. Check out coupons.com, livestrong.com, self.com and shape.com to get started. Also, you can join a meetup.com exercise group in your neighborhood.
You can also check out fun, free and physically active events in your neighborhood such as discounted ticket days at your local museums or Samba classes at a neighborhood Latin restaurant. Sign up for emails from urbandaddy.com or dailycandy.com if you live in a major metropolitan area; otherwise start by checking out your local newspaper‘s online events calendar.
6 Make over your medicine cabinet.
Survey the contents of your medicine cabinet. Too often bathroom shelves become a storage center for out-of-date prescriptions and old make-up. Prescriptions have active ingredients that lose effectiveness and change chemical composition over time, so paying close attention to expiration dates is a must. Once medicine expires it should be discarded immediately. Ask your local pharmacist about appropriate, safe ways to discard of the medications without throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet.
Old make-up and dirty make-up brushes harbor bacteria that can cause acne and skin infections. Eye and lip pencils should be kept sharpened and replaced every two to three years. Make-up brushes should be cleaned weekly with warm, soapy water. Start today as part of the new-you, healthy routine and you may notice a difference in your complexion within a month.
7 Deal with stress.
Resolve to talk to your partner about a troublesome relationship problem and it just may help you lose 5 pounds. Emotional stress can cause weight gain, depression and high blood pressure. Don’t let constant worry gnaw away at an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Each day write down problems in your life that cause you stress and spend 5-10 minutes brainstorming solutions. You will be amazed how fast life’s little troubles start to disappear.
8 Clean house.
Vacuuming, dusting and laundering may seem like a drag sometimes but a clean house is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Too much dust around the house can irritate allergies, making you sluggish and adverse to exercise. Unlaundered clothes, towels and bed sheets provide a breeding ground for immunity-weakening bacteria in your home.
Once a week set aside one hour to dust, vacuum and run sheets and towels through the washing machine. Don’t forget to vacuum or wipe down furniture.
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