My long time passion has been to be as healthy as possible and to help others reach optimum health. One objection I often hear is that being healthy is so expensive. So today I present you with eight FREE ways you can be a healthier person!
- Move your body! Exercise doesn't have to be drudgery. If you enjoy lifting weights, you are probably already doing so. If you don't relish time at the gym, find your exercise in a form you enjoy. Maybe you love to dance? If so, turn the music up and move your body at home! Some other types of exercise that are free include walking, stair climbing, or body weight exercises such as the ones in this workout. By the way, if you can walk outdoors you will be doing two healthy activities at one time! (see #7)
- Drink an adequate amount of water each day. Drinking water makes you feel refreshed, but it does more than that. Mild dehydration can cause problems such as anxiety or depression in addition to the physical problems that are evident. Drinking water helps you think more clearly, keeps your digestive system running smoothly, improves kidney function, promotes clearer looking skin and so much more. Water intake could be one of the best things you could do for your body. It's one of my 31 Habits!
- Get enough sleep. A good night's sleep can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Create an oasis for sleep, which means blocking light, keeping the temperature just right, and reducing bedroom clutter. Also important is going to bed and getting up at the right time consistently each day. Avoiding caffeine in the afternoon could improve your sleep quality. If you have a few bucks to spare adding a nice cup of Chamomile Tea or Sleep With Me Tea before bed could also help. If you have trouble falling asleep, don't depend on the TV, choose a book to read instead. Improve your sleep, and you will improve your life.
- Laugh every day as often as possible. Do whatever makes you laugh! Find the humor in life. If you aren't a person who laughs so easily, try faking a laugh for a few minutes. I know that sounds so crazy, but I've tried it, and it works. When I was younger, I was the epitome of what was called “laughing like a school girl” because I had a giggle that would cause everyone around me to laugh as well. During times when I have been down, I used the following exercise. Upon waking, I stood in front of the mirror and faked a laugh… it feels super awkward at first, but I felt better afterward. If you are ever in a room full of friends just start laughing (even if you have to fake it) and my guess is everyone else will at least start smiling, but the longer you laugh, the higher the chance others will join in the laughter. (share in the comments what makes you laugh!)
In a sense, laughing is like exercise—it boosts the immune system, aids digestion and improves cardiovascular and lung function. It’s also believed to raise levels of good cholesterol and reduce pain, inflammation, blood pressure and stress hormone levels. When we laugh, we release endorphins, chemicals that function as neurotransmitters and block pain receptors in the brain. (source)
- Be thankful. Practicing gratitude may sound cliche, but it's true. People who express gratitude have a better outlook on life Try keeping a gratitude journal. It's not just better for your mental health. Get this:
One recent study from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine found that people who were more grateful actually had better heart health, specifically less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms.
Another study found that gratitude can boost your immune system. Researchers at the universities of Utah and Kentucky observed that stressed-out law students who characterized themselves as optimistic actually had more disease-fighting cells in their bodies.
People who keep a gratitude journal have a reduced dietary fat intake — as much as 25 percent lower. Stress hormones like cortisol are 23 percent lower in grateful people. And having a daily gratitude practice could actually reduce the effects of aging to the brain. (source)
If you did want to spend a few bucks you could get a Gratitude Journal for under $7 bucks, or you could do what I do and just write it on notebook paper!
- Pray or meditate. Studies indicate that people who attend church live longer lives than their peers! Research even shows that prayer can lower blood pressure. According to Philippians 4:6 the Bible tells us to pray about everything! “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Praying can be done alone or with a group. I have a Bible Study Prayer group online! Here is the TOM online Women's Bible Study group. Later this year I'll be releasing a Bible Study on learning to stop beating yourself up and beginning to love yourself the way God loves you.
- Spend some time outdoors every day. Even if it's just to walk to your car before and after work, slow down and look around. If you can take a walk first thing in the morning or even enjoy your morning cup of joe out on the deck studies, show that half an hour outside in the morning can help balance your circadian rhythms and improve sleep!
- Stop eating before you feel full. It's tempting to believe that how much you eat is a matter of willpower and determination. The truth is, your brain is telling you how much to eat!
A diet filled with hyper-palatable, hyper-rewarding, heavily processed foods can overthrow the the brain’s “stop” signals. Hyper-palatable, highly rewarding foods are often the most readily available. Tasty-fun food-crack deliciousness bombs are everywhere.(source)
Believe it or not, the extra weight we carry can make it harder for us to stop eating when we are full. It's a vicious cycle. You can train your brain to help stop overeating. Consistently making choices that include an abundance of fresh whole foods, less processed, higher fiber foods, combined with eating slowly and mindfully will help you break the habit of eating more than your body needs. (something I am currently working on!)
So there you have it! Eight ways you can practice being healthier without spending a dime… Be part of a movement to help others improve their health; take a minute to share this post!