According to Fortune and Marketdata Enterprises, the U.S. weight loss market alone was valued at $64 billion in 2014. That’s a lot of diet pills, work-out programs, and other things that unfortunately most of us probably didn’t use to the fullest extent.
Instead of handing over our hard-earned money, let’s have our cake and eat it too (bad pun for a health article) by doing these 23 simple tips for how to be more healthy and active.
1. Stop smoking!
This is by far one of the best things you can do for your health … period! Not only are cigarettes simply a total waste of money (costing as much as $12.85 in places like New York), but they literally destroy every part of your body. If you do smoke, do yourself and everyone else a big favor by committing to quit.
2. In fact, stop or reduce all your bad or lazy habits.
If you like to sleep in, sit on the couch all day, never work out or move around at all, its time to change all of that. Force yourself to do 5, 10, or 30 minutes of ANY exercise in the morning. Choose to do something more active like going for walks or playing sports with your kids. Any small step will count.
3. Skip the weight loss programs.
Programs like Weight Watchers and others are good. But be aware that you can skip the cost and do the same thing yourself by simply being mindful of what you’re eating. Make conscious choices to make better meal and snack selections.
4. Instead, sign up for a free diet app.
A free app like My Fitness Pal can easily keep you on track with your goals and tell you everything you’ve ever wanted (or not wanted) to know about the food you’re putting in your body.
5. Educate yourself.
How can you make better food and exercise decisions? Educate yourself by taking an active interest in reading more about health and nutrition. Not only does it benefit you, but it also is a valuable and free hobby to have.
6. Drink a lot more water!
Oh, the benefits of drinking more water. Not only is it healthier, but you’ll feel more “full” and feel the need to eat less. Plus – it’s free at most places!
7. Take more steps!
If you sit a lot at your job, force yourself to get up and go for a walk. Go anywhere! Around the perimeter, through the warehouse, .. anything to keep moving and get a few steps in. Your waist will thank you.
8. Take the stairs.
That elevator can seem tempting in the morning. But if you’ve got the option to take the stairs instead, go for it.
9. Stretch in the morning.
Stretching is one of those simple things you can do right away in the morning to loosen up your muscles, which in turn will leave you with less aches and make you feel more energetic throughout the day.
10. Ride a bike instead of driving.
It’s amazing how many people will drive a car to a destination that is within 5 miles of their house. If you’ve got a bike, take advantage of the opportunity by riding there instead. You’ll get a good workout in and save money on your car.
11. Skip expensive gyms.
These days with dozens of low cost options out there like Planet Fitness, etc. there’s no reason to pay anymore than you need to for a gym membership.
12. Check local options.
One big alternative to an expensive gym is to check to see if the local community center or university has any discount gym memberships.
13. Let your employer pay for the gym.
With healthcare being more and more forefront, a lot of employers are offering free or discounted gym memberships for their staff. Check with your HR to see if such a discount exists for you.
14. If you’re not going to the gym anymore, cancel the membership.
Let’s be real. If you don’t use it, then cancel it and save the money. You may be admitting defeat, but you’ll also free up those funds for something else.
15. Best option: Work out at home.
YES, you can not go to the gym and get ripped! There are a ton of simple and basic exercises you can do all in the comfort of your own home that cost barely nothing. If you don’t believe me, check out this awesome article from Mr Money Mustache.
16. Don’t pay for work out videos.
Paying for workout videos is a thing of the past. You can find thousands of good ones for completely FREE on YouTube and on demand cable services.
17. Use less accessories.
Working out doesn’t always mean hitting an expensive treadmill or +$1,000 workout machine. Practice exercises that don’t require weights or accessories such as running or aerobics.
18. Buy your gear for less.
If you do require home gear, always buy it used from a Facebook garage sale or Craig’s List. When we moved, we sold a lot of our stuff for a fraction of what we paid for it, and it was still in great condition. As I’ll keep reminding you: Never pay full price for anything!
19. Learn a new sport.
One of the best ways to combine saving money, being active, and being more social is to learn a new sport. You can do this easily by focusing on just the basic skills. This is especially useful if your kids are in the same sport because it gives you something fun to do together.
20. Skip fancy workout clothes.
Don’t worry about having expensive workout clothes or gear. Make the exercise the priority, not how you look while doing it.
21. Join a group.
You’ll feel more accountable if participate with other people.
22. Work outdoors.
How about working out AND being productive in a way that makes the house more beautiful? A little bit of yard work like landscaping or raking leaves can be an excellent way to get all of your muscles going.
23. Take the kids to the park.
You don’t always need roller-coasters and singing animatronics to keep your kids entertained. Taking them to the local park is a great free way to let them have fun at the park. Plus: You can run around and be active with them too!
Featured image courtesy of Flickr