If living a healthier lifestyle is one of your personal resolutions this year, you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money to invest in your health. Maintaining a nutrition plan with healthy recipes, designing your own wellness routine and making healthy habits a higher priority can pay big dividends in the long run.
Click through to find out ways to improve your health — for free.
Oxygen is good for the body and mind, and breathing deeply can help lower stress. If you’re having a hard time feeling relaxed or grounded, breathe deeply from your abdomen to oxygenate the body and slow your heart rate. Regular practice can support a healthy immune system and make it easier to wind down.
Reduce Screen Time
Whether you’re glued to your smartphone screen or are constantly on the computer, all that screen time could be hazardous to your health. Eye strain, headaches and poor sleep quality are some side effects of excessive screen time. Simply cutting back and changing your habits — by taking a walk or being more active without your smartphone in hand — can do wonders for your health and well-being.
Take a Power Nap
Squeezing in a 20- or 30-minute nap in the middle of the day could help you feel more alert and focused for the rest of the day — without interfering with your regular nighttime sleep schedule. If you’re lucky, you can even nap at work if they let you. Napping is like a mini-vacation and can leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Use a Meditation App to Clear Your Head
If workday stressors or a hectic schedule always leave you feeling anxious and frazzled, give yourself the gift of a timeout with a quick meditation session. For some famous and successful people, it’s the first thing they do every morning. You might already have heard health news about the benefits of meditation, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing stress. Try apps such as Calm to clear your head before your workday begins, or use them in the middle of a stressful day for that much-needed mental break.
Take a Free Yoga Class
You don’t have to practice yoga regularly to enjoy the benefits of deep breathing and stretching. Yoga can help improve your strength and awareness, giving your body a chance to heal itself naturally. If you can’t squeeze yoga classes into your budget, look locally for free sessions offered at area yoga studios, with meetup groups or at community centers in your neighborhood.
Start a Morning Ritual
Get up 15 minutes earlier than usual to start a morning ritual that helps you feel more grounded and energized. This could be a quick meditation session, a mini-workout, a stretching routine or even reading positive quotes. Doing this consistently can help you get a head start on your day and clear your head.
Join a Running Group
Whether you’re a beginning runner or you’re training for a marathon, keep up with your fitness goals without hurting your budget. You can find running meetup groups that run courses around your neighborhood, or look to a church or community organization for a free running group to keep yourself accountable and on track.
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Stretch 10 to 15 Minutes a Day
Being more flexible can ward off a host of health problems as you get older and can even improve your overall well-being on a day-to-day basis. If you can’t attend a yoga or stretching class, make daily stretching a habit. Performing a series of simple stretches that target your hamstrings, hip flexors, back and calf muscles can help you stay limber and healthy.
Join a Fitness Meetup Group
If you need some inspiration to get your healthy lifestyle in order or just want to work out with people you know, don’t pay a premium for a personal trainer or gym membership for the benefits. You can join a fitness meetup group to connect with fitness-minded friends and participate in free activities with the group. It also can help you keep healthcare costs down by staying fit, which is a nice bonus.
Go for a Walk After Dinner
Walking after eating a meal can help digestion and improve your mood. If you’re eating food that’s high in carbohydrates, walking right after the meal can help increase blood circulation, which in turn regulates blood sugar levels.
Attend a Health Fair
Pick up some new recipes, healthy lifestyle tips and even healthy snacks — for free — at a local health fair. Search online using sites such as Eventbrite to find out if there are any vegan, vegetarian or fitness fairs happening in your area for some ideas and inspiration to live healthier. You can find out more about local vendors that serve healthy food or meet fitness instructors and other experts for advice.
Hit the Hiking Trail
Find a hiking trail in your area for a challenging workout. You might have to pay for parking, but otherwise, it’s a free workout. Just fill a backpack and put on some hiking boots to add a cardio workout to your fitness routine over a weekend or in the middle of the day.
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Get Free Samples of Healthy Food
From protein bars to healthier cookies, you can pick up free samples of healthy foods and snacks at local health-food stores or the farmers market. This is a great way to try new flavors and explore options for your healthy menu — and without spending a pretty penny. You also can reach out to health-food companies to request coupons or free samples by mail.
Visit a National Park on Free Dates
Several state and national parks waive the entrance fee on certain days of the year. Those are perfect times to visit national monuments, explore canyons or head out on a trekking adventure around the seashore. Just pack a picnic and healthy snacks for a fun adventure outdoors.
Join a Meditation Group
Search for meditation centers in your area to see if they offer a free intro class or other free classes throughout the week. This can be a great way to learn meditation skills and connect with like-minded people. You also can check listings on Meetup for free meditation meetup groups.
Get Some Sunshine
Get your vitamin D fix with a moderate amount of sun exposure to stay healthy and happy. Several scientific studies point to the health and wellness benefits of UV exposure, including supporting a healthy immune system and reversing the effects of seasonal affective disorder.
Break Your Soda Habit
If you want to prevent weight gain, protect your teeth from cavities and save money in the long run, consider ditching your soda habit. Drinking soda regularly poses several health risks, including diabetes, because of the drink’s high sugar content. You also are paying a premium just to keep that unhealthy habit, so switching to tap water can help.
Take a Free Fitness Class
Find new gyms in your area where you can take a free intro class or test out a class for free. Many gyms offer complimentary classes to friends of members or open the gym free of charge for your first session.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
If you want to improve your chances of staying healthy through old age, maintain a regular sleep schedule. Experts suggest that keeping a sleep schedule supports a healthy daily rhythm so that you’ll fall into a natural cycle of feeling sleepier closer to bedtime and being more alert when it’s time to wake up. Consistency is the key to helping your body perform at its best.
Take a Steam Bath
You don’t have to pay resort fees or health-club membership fees to enjoy the benefits of a steam bath. A steam bath can help remove toxins, loosen stiff joints and improve the quality of your skin. Create a sauna-like experience in your bathroom by shutting off any circulation fans and placing towels around doors and windows to trap the heat.
Click through if you feel drained at work and need tips to get energized throughout the day.