By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
Investing in your health is one of the most important things you can do, especially when it comes to preventive measures—and after all, investing in prevention is less expensive than paying medical bills for related illness.
Simple investments in your everyday life can help promote overall health by promoting healthy joints, sleep, healthy diet, movement, and everyday eating. To help you make smart and inexpensive investments in your health, we’ve put together a list of 6 inexpensive ways to invest in good health.
1. Keep exercise shoes in good shape.
This is perhaps one of the easier ways to invest in good health, and perhaps one of the most important, especially for anyone who’s active or has goals to become more active. I know so many people who run their sneakers into the ground (literally), and with the potential risk for injury, joint and muscle pain, it just isn’t worth it. The life of a pair of shoes will depend on the type of exercise they’re used for. For example, dancing and side-to-side movement can cause shoes to wear out more quickly. Running long distances can also cause shoes to wear out more quickly. Replacing shoes on average about 2-3 times yearly can help to cut down on injury and prevent joint damage due to worn out padding and support. To save money, purchase from shoe outlets or look for online sales.
2. Eat more vegetables, no matter what your diet is.
Fresh produce can be expensive, but when it comes to packing loads of nutrients, there’s nothing that takes the place of fruits and vegetables. Here’s a few ways to save on your grocery bill:
3. Switch to all-natural household cleaning & skin-care products.
Chemical exposure has been cited as a potential danger for health, so a simple, and fairly inexpensive swap you can make is to replace your hard bleach-based products for greener, more natural cleaning products. Or you can really save money by making your own. It’s as simple as ½ cup vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda mixture into ½ gallon water. You can also cut back on chemical-laden hair and skin products by replacing with a more “green” skincare product line that has fewer chemicals—look for products at your local health food store; and to begin, search the ratings of your current products at Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep database.
4. Take advantage of On-Demand & DVD workouts.
If the gym is expensive or it just isn’t for you, don’t forget to take advantage of inexpensive workout DVD’s or the many On-Demand exercise options available. Exercise DVD’s range from $7-12 and can be watched anywhere and at your convenience – they also come in a range of different exercises including yoga, high intensity exercise, Pilates and more. The same goes for On-Demand workouts. They’re available at your convenience as well. Taking advantage of On-Demand exercises and DVD’s can help even the busiest of people fit movement into their day. You can also workout to our Reboot Movement Method or check out my 20 Minute Do-Anywhere Workout — both require no equipment!
5. Track your movement.
This is one of my favorite recommendations. Tracking movement has become easy and relatively inexpensive, and is something that everyone should be doing. I find that often, people don’t realize how much they aren’t moving on a daily basis. So, it’s a good idea to start tracking steps and movement. Movement can be tracked either using a Smartphone app or by purchasing a movement tracking device that can be worn; devices range from $10-180 (pedometer and up). As a baseline, aim for 10,000 steps per day.
6. Get more sleep.
This one costs absolutely nothing ,and can help promote better health, improved focus and productivity, happiness and more. Aim for 7-9 hours nightly. If it’s difficult to reach the goal of 7-9 hours nightly, aim to get more sleep in small increments, like adding 15 or 20 minutes extra on a nightly basis and work up to the goal if able. I hear from many people that one of the biggest barriers is being unable to get to sleep, or even stay asleep — if that’s you, try one of the following: