The 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that out of the 673,000 Americans they interviewed by phone, 36.6% are overweight and 26.5% are obese. The survey, conducted between January 2008 and December 2009, notes that “59.2% of obese Americans exercised at least one day per week, compared to 69.9% of overweight people, and 73.8% of normal-weight people.” Those with the greatest health risks also have the least amount of discipline when it comes to eating right. Obese people often fail to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables three out of seven days.
The findings listed here are to be expected in our fast-paced environment. Lack of financial resources and greater time constraints have people looking for shortcuts. Men and women on tight budgets refrain from hitting the gym because they don’t want to incur the expense of a monthly membership pass. Although it can be considered a wise investment in terms of benefits, there are fees to consider when joining a gym or fitness center.
Good health doesn’t have to come at a cost. Ten of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to get physically fit include:
- Walking 10,000 steps or 30 minutes a day, five days a week. A pedometer worn on your waistband can help you achieve your goal no matter where you go. One thing I did this year was buy a membership to a golf course and plan on walking at least two 18-hole rounds a week. Each round burns over 1,500 calories!
- Eating a balanced diet that includes the appropriate amount of servings from each food group. Refer to the food pyramid below:
- Getting involved in a community-based or work-related sports team and go to every practice. You don’t have to be the best athlete to reap the rewards of doing drills or running around bases.
- Setting small, obtainable goals regarding your health. Keep a journal as a way of tracking your progress.
- Partnering up with a friend or colleague and combine exercise with socialization. Catch up with one another over a game of tennis and increase your endurance. This is something else golf can provide. The key is to avoid getting a cart and picking up a six-pack of beer while on the course!
- Maintaining balance. Resting up, drinking lots of water, and keeping a positive frame of mind will help you achieve your goals quicker.
- Having a yearly check-up with a physician. Prevention is always the best medicine. A trained professional can help you create the type of work-out that best suits your physique and personal medical history.
- Eating at home at least five days a week. A Consumer Reports survey reported that “successful losers” choose home-cooked meals over convenience foods. We also have this going for us since we eat virtually every meal at home and use typically fresh foods, but it’s also just as easy to stray from the food pyramid when cooking at home if you aren’t careful.
- Reducing the size of your plates and eating less at every meal. There is no need to clean your plate when you are no longer hungry. The Japanese people living in Okinawa eat until they are 80% full. You can use this strategy too.
- Formulating lifelong habits that are not detrimental to your health and well-being. The time to give up your vices is today. You can’t expect to lose weight or increase your life expectancy by drinking, smoking cigarettes, or bingeing on food.
The ticket to optimum health lays in your ability to balance personal and professional obligations with long-term goals. By making slow but steady changes in your life, you can reap the rewards of physical fitness without tying up your time or breaking the bank.
Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer for ChickSpeak, Buzzine, DisFUNKshion Magazine, Student Stuff, and a guest contributor for Wisebread. She loves thrift related topics and can spot a bargain a mile away.
Charissa is into frugal living and saving money.