Guest Blog: Health and Fitness Tips When You're Low on Time or Money

Whether you don’t like what you see in the mirror or you’re concerned about diabetes and heart disease, you know it’s time to get fit and healthy. You’ve thought about joining a gym and eating right, but it’s too expensive. Besides, you don’t have time to work out, and why make meals when fast food is so cheap and easy? The truth is you can’t afford not to eat right and exercise. This article gives tips on how anyone (yes, you!) can get fit and healthy regardless of time constraints and without breaking the bank. It all boils down to the food we eat and how much we move our bodies. 

What We Eat

One of the best things we can do is limit eating processed foods and focus more on foods that are plant-based. According to the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consumers are encouraged to select healthier and more nutrient-dense foods that lead to fewer medical costs.

●      Prepare your own meals. A lot of unhealthy choices happen when we’re hungry and opt for a quick fix. This is why meal planning and grocery lists are a must. Countless free resources for meal plans are online. Do everything you can to make meal prep a pleasant experience vs. a complicated chore, starting with organizing your refrigerator. It’s also wise to always have freezer meals on hand too.

●      Become BFFs with your slow cooker/Crock-Pot.

●      Consider greatly limiting (or eliminating) meat. There are less expensive protein alternatives that provide all the protein you need. Take beans, for instance. They’re very healthy, filling, and give you a lot of bang for your buck.

●      Cutting out soft drinks and fancy coffee concoctions will save you money and improve your health. Make water and unsweetened teas your go-to beverages.

●      Get to know the bulk food section in your grocery store. Everything is usually cheaper there.

●      Stock up on fresh produce when it’s in season and then freeze it.

●      Buying organic produce is ideal, but if it’s not in your budget, conventionally grown fresh or frozen produce is still better than no produce.

How We Move 

Maybe you truly don’t have time to drive to a gym and work out for an hour, seven days a week. According to research cited in JAMA, you need to exercise 30 minutes or so a day in conjunction with a healthy diet in order to lose weight. Below are some time-friendly and affordable options. Once you find activities that work for you, schedule them on your calendar like appointments—appointments you won’t break! 

●      Wake up 30 minutes earlier at least five days a week and head outside for some brisk walking or jogging.

●      Find exercise DVDs you enjoy. Check them out at your local library or find used ones online. Amazon Prime and Hulu also offer a variety of exercise videos you can stream.

●      On weekends, join a sports team or pursue an activity you love like tennis, bike riding with your family, or even dancing.

●      Make tweaks to your everyday routine. Use the parking spot farthest from your destination. Take the stairs instead of the escalator. Do squats while you brush your teeth or exercise while you watch TV. Instead of hitting fast forward during commercials, hit the floor and do situps and leg lifts or jog in place.  

Explore alternative methods like yoga, meditation, and swimming. They have the added benefits of helping with addiction recovery.  This is because these activities allow you to focus your mind and can relieve stress and anxiety, both of which are triggers for relapse in many individuals who are in recovery.

The key is to find something you will do regularly. As you work toward your health and fitness goals, you’ll find yourself craving healthful foods instead of those with empty calories. Within months, you’ll like what you see in the mirror. You’ll also feel your commitment pay off with more energy, less brain fog, a better mood, and glowing skin. Best of all, you did it within your schedule and without maxing out any credit cards. And that is priceless. 

Guest blogger: Alexis Hall