Be healthy and frugal at the same time

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The world is full of canny marketing folks trying to persuade us that we need to spend a lot of money to be healthy, but in fact the opposite is the case: being healthy can help to save us money. Here are eight top tips for getting or staying fit and well when you’re on a budget.

Go for a run in the park
The big gym chains want to make you believe that going to a gym is the only good way to get exercise, but it can be just as efficient, much cheaper, and more pleasant to simply to put on your trainers and run. Fresh air and greenery are great for mental health too.

Walk or cycle to work
Save on petrol costs, or your bus, tube or train fare. Dust off your old bicycle, buy a second hand one, or simply put on a pair of comfortable shoes and walk to work. If you’re cycling, don’t forget lights and helmet though: they are available relatively cheaply and and may end up saving your life.

Eat more fruit and veg
Have a meat-free day a couple of times a week, or change your eating habits so meat just becomes an occasional treat. Fruit and vegetables fill you up far more cheaply than meat does, and most people could do with eating more of them. It’s at least a five-way win: good for your wallet, the environment, your waistline, animals and your health.

Drink more fruit and veg
There’s no need to go to those expensive smoothie shops where a single drink can cost you upwards of a fiver. Invest in a juicer, and then buy whatever fruit and vegetables are cheap and delicious. Look on the internet for free recipes, or invent your own.

Exercise at home
Use free resources on the internet to plan your own exercise regime. Whether you prefer weightlifting, yoga or something else entirely, there are websites devoted to teaching you how to do it safely on your own. But again, always remember to put safety first, and if in doubt, check with a professional.

Grab a free trial at a gym
Most gyms do at least a one day free trial; some let you try them out for a week or a fortnight. There is no obligation to join afterwards, so remember that if you do get the hard sell at the end of your trial, you can always just walk away.

Drink lots of water
Get a reusable bottle and make sure you have water with you everywhere you go so you won’t be tempted to splash out on expensive and unhealthy sodas. Tap water is one of the healthiest drinks there is. Green tea is also pretty good for you, and fairly inexpensive.

Drink less alcohol
There’s no need to be teetotal unless you want to, but many people find they drink more alcohol than they actually enjoy. Whether you’re having an evening out or an evening in, try just having the one glass of beer or wine, then move on to soft drinks. Your head and wallet will both thank you in the morning, and it’s a good way of safeguarding your longer term health too.

There’s no such thing as being too poor to get fit and healthy!

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