Affordable Ways to Improve Your Health on a Daily Basis

Adding new healthy habits can feel daunting. Being inundated with the latest eating plans, the newest organic superfood drink, trendy gym classes — it can all be a lot. On top of being overwhelming in general, these things can add up in price. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be that way, and today I’m including seven ways that you can improve your health for little to no cost at all.

Be Physically Active
You don’t need a gym membership or personal trainer to move your body. There are loads of free resources on the internet for workouts that you can do at home with no equipment at all. You can also go for a walk or run outside when the weather is nice. If you wish, you can invest in minimal equipment, such as resistance bands, to increase the intensity of your at home workouts without breaking the bank.

Intermittent Fasting
Lately, many scientific studies have been demonstrating that intermittent fasting can give you tremendous health benefits. You can choose a split that works best for you and your schedule, but the most common breakdown is an 8-hour eating frame and a 12-hour fast. This isn’t just great for weight and fat loss; studies have shown that it can improve cell regeneration and help prevent illness. Check with your medical professional to make sure fasting is right for you.

Take Cold Showers
Cold showers can stimulate your nervous system and improve your heart rate. Try to take a cold shower first thing in the morning—not only will it really wake you up, but it can also improve heart health.

Meditate
Meditating is good for both the body and mind. Take time to meditate each day, and you will notice a dramatic decrease in your stress levels, which not only makes you feel happier and more relaxed but also improves your physical health. When we are stressed out, our bodies release too much cortisol— our stress hormone— which can increase inflammation and have negative effects on our physical health. By de-stressing, you can take care of your mental and physical health.

Practice Your Breathing
Take some time each day to completely clear your mind and focus solely on your breathing. Practice taking slow, deep breaths instead of the short and shallow breathing that we often unconsciously do when we’re feeling stressed. This can also be part of your meditation practice.

Drink Enough Water
Water is the healthiest thing you can drink —and it is free. Make sure you’re drinking half of your body weight in oz of water each day and make it a habit to drink a big glass first thing in the morning. If you want to do a little extra, you can have a cup of warm lemon water in the morning to kickstart your metabolism and make you feel like you started your day on a healthy note. That way, you’ll be more inclined and motivated to keep up the healthy habits for the rest of the day.

Spend Time in Nature
You don’t need to exercise outside every day, but you should spend at least 30 minutes in nature, whether you’re moving your body or just sitting in the park. Spending time in nature is fantastic for reducing stress and clearing our minds. The fresh air is good for waking you up if you feel groggy or unmotivated.

Feasible Ways to Stay Moving

Let’s face it— sometimes, we just don’t have the time or motivation to get our daily exercise done. Aside from planned workouts, we actually burn a good deal of calories from simple regular movements, such as walking.

Here are five ways that you can increase your physical activity by tweaking the daily tasks that you’re already doing.

1. Park further away
Whenever we drive somewhere, we always look for the closest parking spot so that we don’t have to walk far. However, this is a missed
opportunity to get some extra steps in (plus, you’ll likely save yourself a lot of stress from not finding an empty spot). Next time you’re parking somewhere, try to go a bit further away from the entrance. These daily steps add up.

2. Make physical activity a social event
Usually, when we catch up with friends, it’s over coffee or a meal. Try integrating physical activity into your social life so that you make it something you look forward to. Instead of going out for dinner, go on a walk together. This way, you can still talk and catch up, but you’ll be moving your body while you do it. You can also do other fun activities together, such as skating, rock climbing, or a fun fitness class. It’s always more fun to exercise when you’re doing it with a friend.

3. Pace when you’re on the phone
All these seemingly little movements throughout the day can add up and contribute a lot to your overall step count and the number of calories that you burn. When you’re texting or talking on the phone, pace back and forth or walk around the house. Over time, it will become a habit, and you won’t even think about it as you do it.

4. Take a bike or walk instead of driving
If you’re going somewhere that’s not too far, try riding your bike or walk there instead of driving or taking a bus. If the destination is too far and you are taking public transit, you can walk to the next station over instead of the one closest to you and get off a few stops early to walk the rest of the way.

5. Get up when you’re sitting
If you have an office job or are working at your desk all day, you are probably spending the majority of your day sitting down, which can be unhealthy and especially bad for your posture. Take advantage of your lunch break, and take a quick stroll. Get some fresh air. Even throughout your working hours, remember to get up off your chair and even just walk tothe bathroom or end of the hallway every so often.

You can also do some of your work standing up, when at all possible. If you work from home, consider getting a standing or height-adjustable desk, or sit on a medicine ball instead of a chair.

If you feel like you slack off on your exercise during the holidays months with the hope of picking back up in the new year — try something different this year.  Instead of thinking with an “all or nothing” mentality — make it your priority to get at least 10 minutes of exercise per day. You can do more, but make sure you get at LEAST ten minutes.

That’s it! Sounds doable, right?  That’s because it is — we let logistics get in the way too often.  Maintain your regimen throughout these months, and it’ll be much easier to ramp up your efforts in the new year — if those are your resolutions.

Do you prefer working out at home or in the gym?

 

Highly Effective Ways to Lower Stress Naturally

Stress is remarkably damaging to our mental and physical health. Even though we know how serious it is, most of us can’t seem to find an effective way to get rid of it (or at least reduce it). Here are six all-natural, healthy, and highly effective ways to reduce chronic stress in your life.

1. Exercise
You’ve probably heard this one before, but exercise is a marvelous stress reliever. Exercising releases endorphins, which are natural compounds in your body that reduce stress and pain. You don’t have to do strenuous or intense workouts to experience this benefit. Try to be physically active every day, whether it is a brisk walk in the sunshine, swimming, or weightlifting at the gym. You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel.

2. Natural Adaptogen Supplements
Adaptogen supplements are natural herbs that help your body adapt to stressors in your environment. A common adaptogen is Ashwagandha. Although the stress response might feel as though it’s limited to your mind, your entire body responds to stress. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, you might have difficulty focusing, and you start breathing rapidly. Adaptogens help calm the nervous system down and are completely natural.

3. Schedule in “Me-time”
Although life can get overwhelmingly busy, don’t forget about yourself. Scheduling in “me time” is equally as important as that business meeting or lunch with friends. Take time at least once a week (or as often as your schedule allows) to relax and do things that calm you down. Read a book, have a bath, meditate, or watch a funny movie, and don’t cancel on yourself!

4. Get Enough Good-quality Sleep
I can’t stress how important getting enough sleep is for your overall wellbeing. Getting enough quality sleep is proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress significantly. You probably know how irritated, frustrated, and upset you can get when you feel exhausted and haven’t slept enough. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

5. Eat Healthy, Whole Foods
The foods you eat can have a tremendous impact on your stress levels— both positive and negative. If you eat processed, sugary junk foods, you will notice that your feelings of stress will only get worse. A diet full of real, nutrient-dense, whole foods can counteract the damaging effects of stress on your body and can help you feel significantly better. Healthy fats (especially omega-3 fatty acids) found in salmon, avocado, nuts, and seeds can help regulate levels of cortisol, your stress hormone.

6. Calming Essential Oils
Essential oils are powerful and natural remedies for numerous health problems, from indigestion to stress. Lavender essential oil is well-known for its calming properties. You can put this oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or apply it topically to help you relieve stress and sleep better. Rose oil is also a powerful calming oil that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. However, be careful as essential oils are very potent, and you don’t want to use too much.

As the air gets cooler over the next few months, you may be wanting to do more inside workouts.

Some  favorite inside workouts to do during the chilly months include:

  • Following an at-home “gym” routine such as Open Fit or Beachbody On Demand
  • Using a Rebounder
  • Yoga
  • A simple brisk walk on the treadmill

What ways do you enjoy working out during the cooler months?