7 Ways to be healthier on a budget

7 Ways to be healthier on a budget

With the cost of living rising, what can you do to both save money and look after your health? Susannah Hickling shares advice for healthy living on a budget

Household costs are rocketing. What cheaper choices can you make that will also benefit your health?

1. Go to bed an hour earlier

Lighting and electronics, including TVs, laptops and games consoles, account for around 30 per cent of your electricity usage. So it’s obvious going to bed earlier could save you money.

"Getting adequate sleep makes you less stressed and puts you in a better mood"

Getting adequate sleep makes you less stressed and puts you in a better mood, as well as bolstering your immune system, and helping protect you from heart disease, diabetes and dementia. Research has even shown that people who go to bed later gain more weight. 

2. Get fit on the cheap

There’s no need for an expensive gym membership or classes, or costly kit; the internet is a rich resource for videos on activities as varied as yoga, high intensity or low-impact workouts, Pilates or dance.

Home workout

Swap your expensive gym membership for free home workouts

If you want to get more fresh air, then opt for brisk walking or running (invest in the right footwear) or cycling. Being outdoors in nature is also good for your mental health. 

3. Ditch the car for short journeys

For local errands or meeting people, walk or cycle. This will save money on fuel, plus help prevent you being too sedentary. Inactivity has been called the “silent killer” and linked with heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. 

4. Turn down the heating

We don’t want anyone to be living in a cold home, but many of us still keep our thermostat higher than necessary. A room that’s too hot can dry out our sinuses, and cause skin problems, dry eyes and dehydration, which can trigger headaches.

"Many of us still keep our thermostat higher than necessary"

According to the World Health Organisation, 18°C is the ideal temperature for healthy, adequately dressed people.

5. Cut back on the booze

Repeated lockdowns led to many of us upping our alcohol intake. Given that a bottle of wine adds £5 or more to your shopping bill, now would seem a good time to refocus on the recommended limits—14 units (and those units are much smaller than the ones we pour at home) per week for both men and women. Have at least two alcohol-free days and try setting a weekly alcohol budget and not exceeding it.

Woman drinking water to be healthy on a budget

Swap alcohol for water—cheaper and healthier!

Another way to cut down is only to drink when you eat. Benefits of drinking less include lower cholesterol, weight and blood pressure

6. Drink water

Soft drinks are often high in sugar or additives. Opt instead for water, which is vital in keeping your mind and body functioning properly. 

7. Make smart food swaps

Meat is expensive, so substitute other, cheaper forms of protein a couple of times a week. Eggs, canned fish and dried beans and pulses are inexpensive and nutritious. Buy cheaper frozen or canned veg instead of fresh—they’re usually just as good for you.

"Buy cheaper frozen or canned veg instead of fresh—they’re usually just as good for you"

Skip highly processed foods, from biscuits to ready meals, as these are often high in fat and salt and choose simple, fresh ingredients you can cook yourself. 

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