How To Lead A Healthier Life Without Breaking The Bank
In this day and age, making choices in the name of health and wellness can quickly become a very expensive exercise. Here at Sweat, we’re passionate about finding ways to stay healthy and fit, but strongly believe that it doesn't have to be a luxury pursuit that only a small few can afford.
With the cost of living rising, it’s more important than ever to know that taking care of yourself doesn’t have to cost you the earth, so here are quick and affordable tips for those moments when you might be worried that leading a healthy lifestyle feels too far out of reach financially.
Fill ALL of your buckets
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. It’s an active process of choices, intentions and actions towards a healthier you, rather than a passive state or some kind of once-off check box.
Making choices around exercising and nourishing your body is always top of mind when it comes to staying well, but prioritising your health is about so much more than that.
Most models of wellness include at least six dimensions, including your physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental health. When making a plan for creating healthy habits or changes you want to make, it can help to reflect on each of these areas and jot down some ideas of where you’re at now, where you would like to be, and what new habits could get you there.
In this list of affordable wellness tips, we have tried to give you some ideas and inspiration for several different dimensions!
Food and nutrition
As much as we would all love an unlimited budget for our weekly food shop, the reality for most of us is a little different. Reminding yourself that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy can help when prices go up or if you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget. Put your health first without spending a lot with these ideas:
- Know what pantry staples you use regularly and try to buy them in bulk or on special
- Start your day with a big glass of water
- Aim to drink at least 2 litres of water each day
- Buy fruit and veggies that are in season (they will usually taste better as well as being cheaper!)
- Focus on including fruits or veggies and a source of protein at every meal. For lunches, Sweat Trainer and nutritionist Cass Olholm loves a Greek pasta salad with veggies, tuna, olives and feta!
- Love buying smoothies but hate how expensive they can be? Save up for a blender and make your own! If you would use a blender for other things like soup, ice cream, bliss balls or hummus and dips, a quality blender could be worth the investment.
- Check out our article on 20 grocery shopping hacks to save you money!
- Avoid buying expensive “health” foods and make your own. This could be things like muesli bars, snack balls, soups, wraps, granola, or you can even DIY some eco-friendly cleaning products. Even buying whole fruit and vegetables instead of pre-packaged veggies can save you money while being a more environmentally-friendly choice, too!
- Just because canned or frozen foods aren’t in the fresh produce section doesn’t make them less nutritious. Canned beans, veggies and tomatoes are all healthy and nutrient-dense, as are frozen fruit and vegetables. You don’t even need to buy a fancy brand - supermarket home brands are a great budget-friendly option.
- Enjoying everything in moderation is part of a healthy lifestyle! Give yourself some wiggle room for your favourite foods that might not necessarily deliver a lot of nutrition, but definitely deliver a lot of joy - a key ingredient in any wellness plan.
Be savvy with supplements
Most people can get all their nutrients without any supplements by eating a healthy and balanced diet. Protein powder is another popular form of supplementation for people who are strength training, but you can definitely consume sufficient protein through food alone - that’s what Head Trainer Kayla Itsines recommends!
There are some situations where supplements can be necessary or helpful, such as vitamin D for people who don’t get much sun exposure, iron if your stores are low, or nutrients such as protein or vitamin B12 for some people following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Good quality supplements don’t tend to be cheap, so if you’re someone who takes supplements or you’re wondering if you should start, it can be worth visiting your healthcare professional to get your vitamin levels tested. If you take protein powder, you could also track your daily protein intake through food to see if supplementing is necessary.
Knowing where your levels sit without supplementation can help you see what your body needs more of or what foods to focus on. If you do need supplements, try to top up your supply when they are on sale!
Fitness and movement
Moving your body and getting fit and strong doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Here are some suggestions:
- Weekly gym memberships getting too expensive? Workout with Sweat wherever, whenever!
- Give yourself a daily step goal (between 6-10k steps if you can!). Aside from working out, which is only a small part of your week, Head Trainer Kayla Itsines says it’s all about staying active throughout the day.
- Getting injured can be an expensive exercise if you need to pay for physio appointments or sports massage. Prioritise some TLC and avoid those extra costs by making foam rolling, stretching and rest days a part of your weekly routine to help your body recover and minimise the risk of injury.
- If you can’t afford a gym membership or an extensive set of home equipment but want to build your strength, focus on bodyweight strength workouts or consider investing in smaller, more affordable items such as dumbbells and a few resistance bands.
- Don’t underestimate the power of bodyweight workouts. Once you master an exercise, there’s usually a more challenging variation waiting for you. Nailed push-ups on your knees? Push-ups on your toes are next, or progress to spider or plyo push-ups.
Although buying an expensive smartwatch can be very alluring with all its health stats, it’s definitely not essential! If you enjoy the numbers, you can also use the step count feature on your phone, track your workouts in the Sweat app, phone apps for running, or get a cheaper fitness band if you’re interested in your step count or heart rate zones.
Self-care and emotional wellbeing
Each week, make meaningful social connection with family and friends a priority, even if you’re an introvert! Nourishing your relationships can have a huge impact on your health and happiness. This could be a simple phone call, a walk, a meal together, seeing a movie, or picking a fun activity.
According to The Cleveland Clinic, research shows that hugs also have significant health and therapeutic benefits, such as a decrease in cortisol and blood pressure, and a strengthened immune system.
Finding ways to practice self-care that leave YOU feeling restored is also important. Self-care doesn’t need to be spas, beauty treatments, massages and therapy - it could be a gentle yoga flow in your lounge, basking in the sun, reading a book, going for a long walk or bath, dancing, enjoying a sleep-in, carving out some tech-free time, making yourself a delicious meal, or simply getting more hours of quality sleep.
There are also plenty of yoga flows and recovery sessions available in the Sweat app to give some love to your mind and muscles.
Create a healthy space
Look at your living space and ask if it brings you a sense of joy or calm. You don’t need to spend a fortune redecorating, but the spaces you spend most of your time in can have a big influence on how you feel and your health, especially if you work from home.
You could add some indoor plants or art, set aside time each week to tidy, open the windows daily to allow fresh air to circulate, and do what you can to prevent mould. Even rearranging your furniture can make things feel refreshed!
Spending more time in nature also gives you a big bang for your buck when it comes to your health. Being outdoors can give you a greater sense of calm, a dose of vitamin D, boosted cognitive function and focus, and better overall wellbeing.
All things spiritual
Spirituality means different things to different people, and isn’t restricted to religion or a set of specific beliefs. It can be as simple as feeling connected to something bigger than yourself.
If you are religious, this could mean visiting your church, temple or mosque, making time for prayers or observing Ramadan like some of the Sweat Community! For other people, spiritual practice looks like practicing gratitude, mantras, intention-setting, journaling, meditating, reading self-help books or volunteering in the community.
Think about what spirituality means to you and how you could nourish this area of your life in a way that is meaningful to YOU.
Feeling great about your health can go hand in hand with feeling great about your bank account balance, and there are so many simple and affordable ways to care for every aspect of your wellbeing!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.