Healthy and Fit . . .On a Budget?

Here in Greenville, we enjoy a wonderful culture of bike lanes, walking trails, and eating locally grown produce, meats, and dairy. Most of us are very conscious of the benefits of a healthy diet and active lifestyle and have some idea of our personal goals. But we all probably have our own personal roadblocks too. Of the many real challenges we face in achieving our health and fitness goals, however, money should not be one.

There is a strong perception that being healthy and fit is expensive. While you certainly can spend hundreds of dollars a month on gym memberships, workout equipment, dietary supplements, organic foods and the like, you certainly don’t have to! If your goals include things like “Lose 10 pounds,” “Maintain my current weight,” “Run a 5k,” “Lift weights 3 days a week,” or “Learn yoga,” you can confidently pursue success without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips.

Eat more Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Why don’t we start with the obvious one? Fruits and vegetables are good for you, and, if you shop what’s in season and on sale, they are very affordable. Some of the best produce deals in town are at Trader Joe’s and Aldi, but every grocery runs sales, so keep an eye out at your local favorite. If cooking veggies sounds bland, explore the wide world of roasting and grilling! Just chop, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and throw them in the oven or on the grill.

Cut Refined Sugars
Anytime you subtract something from your budget, you’re automatically saving money. Hold on to that happy thought as you pass by the soda, cookies, prepackaged snack cakes, and sweet tea. Keep an eye on canned or packaged fruit, cereals, bottled spaghetti sauce, and some yogurts too as they are often high in sugar, and make good choices where you can.

Free Apps and YouTube
Want to prepare for a 5k? Download “Couch to 5k” on your phone and give it a whirl! Want to try yoga? YouTube is your friend. Want to learn exercises that don’t require gym equipment? Try the free apps Sworkit and YouTube. Whether you want to track your run or learn a new healthy recipe, there are a million free resources out there! Ask around, chances are good some of your friends have a few favorites to share.

Used Equipment
Another thing Greenville is good at is recycling and reusing! New workout equipment and gym memberships can be very expensive, so if you’re on a budget, try getting some used free weights and other items. Play It Again Sports, thrift shops, garage sales, and Craigslist are all great places to pick up deals on weights, resistance bands, step blocks, jump ropes, and more. If you really want to be thrifty, fill water bottles or milk jugs with water or sand to do your curls!

While these tips may feel simple, putting them into practice will take discipline. Make time for yourself, even if it is just ten minutes a day, and don’t fall into the myth that healthy living is only for those with extra cash to spend!

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