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My health has not been the best lately. In the last 5 years, I have not been taking care of my body, mind, or soul. I believe you can have it all, but not at the same time. I am trying to incorporate things back into my life to make a more rounded, satisfied life. And all on a budget. Here is my plan.
With health care being the most expensive cost in all of our lifetime, maintaining and improving our health is the most frugal way to live. It has been long proven that obesity is one of the major causes of heart disease, cancers and diabetes. It just makes sense to stay healthy, reduce stress and will improve the overall quality of your life well into your senior years.
It doesn't take tons of money to improve your health. Actually treating illness takes much more! If you don't want to be on multiple life altering meds or have to enter a nursing home, you might want to start a healthier lifestyle for both you, your spouse and your children now.
I personally do 20-30 minutes of walking before my breakfast each morning, (even if it's just walking in place with a DVD at home. I make it a priority and it kick starts my metabolism most efficiently. I climb the stairs of my two story home; 5 times up, 5 times down each day before lunch. I also use DVDs on a variety of exercises to keep it interesting. Even just turning on a fast song and doing any dance movements will improve your health and attitude!
I also have fun days where I will visit my local or state parks for a stroll to make it interesting or walk to my post office, instead of jumping in the car automatically. I live rurally where the post office is the only thing within 6 miles of me. My closest mall is 30 miles away. You may have lots of potential places to walk.
I do have a nice road with a steep incline that I walk in good weather. It has a wonderful creek at the bottom that I enjoy reaching, then returning back up the hill for quite the workout. I have included a photo of the beautiful Butternut Creek I visit. My local schools offer free evening walking programs. I invited a neighbor to join me and we walk the halls and catch up on our lives. This would be great time for a spouse or with your children, too.
I wear a pedometer (found one at the Dollar Store) that I keep on. You can even record each day's total steps on your calendar and challenge yourself or your loved ones to beat the last day's total for fun! It is recommended to walk 10,000 steps a day, or five miles. Wear one and see how close you are to being proactively healthy.
I stand at my computer or use my balance ball if I need to sit down. I always use a kitchen timer to limit how long I am allowed to sit at my computer, since it is a major time stealer. Sometimes I walk in place for an entire 30 minute show I watch or use the commercials to do some exercise or light weight lifting with hand held weights or cans from your pantry.
You can get the kids involved too and have a fun loving, healthier family. 150 minutes of activity a week has been proven and recommended to prevent disease. Find at least one active hobby you enjoy; bowling, walking, dancing, swimming, even badminton, and ask one person to join you. You will be helping both of you. There is even a site called Meetup that plan fun events of all kinds that you can join and go together to! We went to a wonderful walking club and walked and chatted and made new friends.
I personally also do a 20 minute yoga DVD every morning, just for flexibility. It feels so good and is a peaceful thing to do. My library offers weekly yoga classes that I also attend. I sign up for nightly community exercise programs from our school district when available, just to mix up the workout and to socialize a bit. They are usually a bargain and can get you started with exercise. Check it out and see if your community offers programs like this.
During the worse weather, I have even resorted to pushing a carriage at a brisk pace through the only big store within 6 miles of me, a grocery store. I look for sale items and especially discontinued items while walking to save on groceries while I exercise.
I am recently retired and, at this point, I don't take any medications nor do I have any major health conditions. I look forward to enjoying my retirement years by staying active and ready to enjoy the remaining years I worked so hard to enjoy. I realize that illness is not avoidable sometimes but I have worked in the medical field long enough to also know that our food and activity (or inactivity) choices are one of the major determinants of many of our illnesses or health and the cause of diseases like heart, cancer and diabetes. I've heard of people who have become bankrupt due to the incredible expenses of illness from meds to medical needs and prices will not be going down on these expenses.
There will be a point when, even if you want to, you will not be able to reverse your years of neglect or your health condition by much, with or without medications. Prevention is the key to a healthy, wealthier life in more ways than one. Healthy is the ultimate frugal!
I have a pal who doesn't think anything of playing the slot machines. I don't know how much she and her husband "invest" in slots or poker machines, but it's a "hobby".
When January arrives make a "be good to myself calendar." For every month I write in something to attend to for my health. Example: schedule mammogram, visit eye doctor, buy a juicer and make healthy beverages, exercise, etc.
Eat 5 or more servings of colorful fruits and veggies a day, to help achieve optimal health!