We all want to live a healthy lifestyle, but it is often associated with higher costs. Think expensive gym memberships, expensive workout wear and equipment, or the costs of fresh produce over cheaper ready meals. Yet, healthy living on a budget is possible – in fact it can be easy! Here are some tips on ways to live a healthy lifestyle while reducing the costs. Let’s get back on track to a new you, starting today.
1. Forget the Gym – Start Working Out at Home
Working out and getting exercise into your life brings massive benefits to your physical and mental well-being. It works in every part of your body, not just your heart and muscles. Exercise also reduces risks of cancer, lowers cholesterol levels, blood pressure and aids digestion, to name but a few.
Though gyms can be a great way to work out, they come at a cost with ever increasing memberships and the travel costs to getting there too. The home workout option can achieve amazing results with little to no costs. Plus you are in, the comfort of your home! All you need is to use your body weight, or a few pieces of smaller equipment.
Using your body weight, or adding versatile equipment like dumbbells or resistance bands, can accomplish a vast array of exercises to target every part of your body. The benefits of resistance training is well documented, but if you are on a budget, it is even better. It saves money as you don’t need to purchase bulky, expensive exercise equipment that clutters up your home and ends up gathering dust.
During lockdown, when gyms were shut, many people started working out at home. Many chose to not return to the gym, once they realised that they could accomplish all their work out goals equally from home.
2. Get Walking
Walking is one of the best ways to begin healthy living on a budget. Nothing is cheaper or easier than adding a few more steps into your day. We’ve all heard the quote of ‘ten thousand steps a day’, but many of us aren’t even getting close. Recent studies show that five thousand steps minimum is a good marker to reach is you are living a sedentary lifestyle, and aim to build up to the ten thousand. Studies have also shown there is a correlation between the number of steps walked daily and a decrease in mortality risks.
Walking can be added as a daily activity in itself, or it can be achieved by walking to the shops rather than the car, or taking the stairs over the lift. It all counts. Whenever you walk, do so briskly as that has the most health benefits. If you already enjoy walking, why not build your stamina for a more challenging hike?
The NHS recommends at least ten minutes of brisk walking a day to benefit your health. That’s walking that leaves you slightly out of breath, enough that you can still talk but cannot sing the words to a song. A study by Macmillan Cancer Support states that walking a mile a day could reduce your risk of prostate and breast cancers by 40%, another worthwhile benefit to consider.
Another benefit of walking is its positive effect on mental health conditions. It also clears the mind and clarifies thoughts, a well-known benefit that artists and writers have known and utilised for centuries.
3. Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own food is a great way to start living healthy on a budget. Not only do you know exactly where your food comes from, but is tastes significantly better and you also save money in the process. Growing your own isn’t as daunting as you’d first think. Seeds and shrubs are relatively inexpensive to purchase and widely available both online or locally.
You only need a small plot to start growing your own fruit, herbs and vegetables. If you don’t have a big garden, planters can be built or purchased cheaply, helping you grow produce in small areas, patios or balconies. There are also many potted fruit trees available that are designed for patios, growing tightly and vertically to save space, without the need to dig.
See our Grow Your Own Guides for information on how to grow your favourite crops.
4. Buy Food In Season
If you aren’t ready to ‘grow your own’ just yet, or want to add to the ones you are growing, buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Locally grown, seasonal foods are usually cheaper and healthier than out of season produce that’s travelled across the globe, and is usually fresher and better tasting.
Buying locally from farmers markets can save money and boost the local economy too. Buying bulk is also a cost effective way and has massive savings over individual items, though only if they are consumed and not filling the compost bin. There are also many fresh, seasonal wild fruits and plants to be foraged, full of nutrients and free!
5. Meal Planning
Planning your week’s meals out in advance can help you save money in numerous ways. Firstly, it means you aren’t making repeated trips to the shops, inevitably purchasing items you weren’t intending on. It also gives you the option to use items you already have, saving you from tossing out existing perishable items in your fridge.
Secondly, meal planning allows you to batch cook and freeze certain meals, meaning less time burning fuels on separate cooks of the same meal type, and also saving some prep and cook time as a bonus. Cheap meal planners are available to buy or print online.
6. Cook More at Home
Cooking at home is one of the best ways to live healthy on a budget. Rather than expensive take outs or grabbing food on the go, preparing your meals at home save hundreds of pounds a year. You also have the benefit of choosing what goes into your body. You can choose to lower the fat, sugar or salt levels as well as control portion sizes. You can also put the best quality nutrients into your diet and save money in the process.
The ecological benefits of cooking at home are another bonus. For example, the benefits of using a slow cooker, for example, save you money over your usual oven as it uses much less energy. Re-usable containers to store leftovers or batch cooked meals will reduce waste packaging, helping the planet with each home cooked meal.
Healthy Living on a Budget – The Verdict
A better lifestyle doesn’t have to be any more expensive than the life you are living right now, implementing just a few of these suggestions could have a significant effect on your physical and mental well-being, as well as your bank balance. Why not start today, and watch those benefits and savings grow?