Wellness Wednesday: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Without Spending a Dime
Achieving a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, there are many ways you can improve your mental, physical, and emotional well-being without spending anything at all!
Ten minutes of your day spent in a meditative state has the potential to help you reduce your stress levels, decrease anxiety, improve heart health, and achieve a much greater capacity for relaxation. It’s also been proven to boost your immune system, help you to achieve better sleep, feel less pain, and improve your memory.
Surprisingly, mediation takes a great deal of practice, but even beginners will notice a difference in their physical and mental states right away.
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Go for a Walk
Regular, brisk walking will lift your spirits, improve your balance and coordination, help you to maintain a healthy weight, prevent and manage many health conditions - including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes - and strengthen your bones, among many other benefits!
Aim to complete a 20-30 minute walk, four to five days out of the week.
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Several health complications – headaches and migraines, dizziness, nausea, shakiness, and more – can be a result of dehydration. Sure, you might be slurping down fountain soda and coffee like it’s nobody’s business, but the benefits of those liquids aren’t nearly as great as downing regular old H20. Plus, it’s easy to consume hundreds of unneeded calories this way.
As a general rule of thumb, make sure you’re getting about 2 liters of water per day. Not a fan of the lack of flavor? Add a little punch by slicing up fruits and tossing them in your glass or pitcher.
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Stretch it Out
A great majority of Americans spend a large portion of their day seated – for work and for pleasure. Long periods of time spent sitting down can lead to several health issues, including organ damage, neck strain, a foggy mental state, a painful back, sore legs, blood clots, and heart disease.
Once an hour, take five to ten minutes to stand up and, if possible, go for a short walk. Do a short series of stretches, too, like putting your hands on your hips and rotating side to side, raising your hands over your head, then reaching toward your back, moving your head up and down and side to side, and stretching your legs.
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Breathing, no matter how we do it, helps to release 70% of the toxins that find their way into our bodies. Taking the time to focus on breathing properly, and deeply, though, helps to release tension, relax the mind and body, relieve pain and uneasy emotions, massage organs, strengthen the immune system and heart, increase energy, and more.
Make it a point to focus on your breathing as much as possible. Inhale through your nose, expanding your belly as much as possible, while counting to five. Hold for three seconds, then exhale fully, counting to five. Repeat.
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Adequate sleep doesn’t just result in a clearer mind and less grogginess when we’re awake, it also improves memory, curbs inflammation, increases longevity, regulates a healthy weight, spurs creativity, improves heart health, lowers stress, and so much more.
There is no magic number when it comes to the right amount of hours spent sleeping, but getting 7-8 hours a night is highly recommended. Try to regulate your sleep cycle and determine what your body needs by going to bed at the same time every night for a week, and setting your alarm for the same each morning. If you find that you’re waking up an hour before your alarm goes off, or you're regularly hit the snooze for thirty minutes afterwards, then adjust your amount of sleep accordingly.
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Quit Bad Habits
Ditching your cigarette habit will significantly decrease your risk of lung and other cancers, as well as stroke and coronary heart disease, and it'll improve respiratory issues, like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money.
This rings true for quitting several other bad habits, too. While an occasional drink, dessert indulgence, TV marathon, or sleeping in your make-up won’t have a huge impact, making these a regular occurrence is not good news for your health. Chances are, you already know what your bad habits are. Now, determine how you’re going to rid yourself of them.
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Ditch Toxic “Friends”
We’ve all had at least one of them – the person you consider a friend who really knows how to stress you out, make you feel bad about yourself, push you into bad habits, or leave you feeling really, really depressed.
There’s no question in how these types of friends are bad for your health. They cause stress and anxiety levels to rise, jealousy, depression, and anger to set in, and as a result, your physical health may suffer.
So, cut them out. It might not be easy, but you’ll be doing your mind and your body a huge favor. If your “friend” doesn’t leave you feeling happy, excited, proud of yourself, and comfortable, then they’re bad news for your health.
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Work Out at Home
You don’t need a gym to get in (or stay in) shape. Make a little space in your place and prepare to sweat it out without leaving the house. There are plenty of online workout videos, charts, playlists, and additional tools, as well as mobile apps, to get you up and moving.
There are many workouts you can complete without a single piece of equipment, while others may require a jump rope, a small set of dumbbells, or a balance ball. Use what you’ve got available at home and you can still burn the calories away. And if the weather's nice - take it outside! The Vitamin D and fresh air will further improve your mood.
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If you just don’t have the energy to do anything else, make sure you take the time to cuddle up with your significant other, your kiddos, your pets, or a blanket and a good book, for a few minutes each day. It’s been proven to boost your mood - as snuggling releases dopamine and serotonin - decrease stress levels, improve sleep, strengthen the immune system, and more.
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