Ways to stay healthy on a budget

The fitness industry in the UK has experienced huge growth in the last few years, with more gym memberships and gym gear being bought than ever before.

Aviva research shows that despite 64% of 16-34 year-olds not saving as much money as they’d like to, 15% felt they couldn’t live without a gym membership. With this in mind, we’ve created a guide to keeping healthy on a budget, to prove that you can take care of yourself while at the same time taking care of your finances.

Ditch crazy gym fees

You don’t need a fancy gym membership to exercise, and it does seem silly paying to use a treadmill when there’s so much green space to run in. The internet is full of resources such as workouts that you can carry out at home or in the park, and many don’t require any weights or equipment. If you have a dog, make their walks extra worthwhile by speeding up and doing a few extra laps.

For those who prefer classes, many budget gyms offer these as part of the package, which is much more economical than paying each time. Blogger James Northcott advises: “You may just have to be sensible about what time of day you visit, as they can get particularly busy early evening”.

Avoid get-fit-quick schemes

porridge with raspberries and almonds
Image source: @sophieshealthykitchen

While losing a lot of weight in a short period may be tempting, these plans are very rarely sustainable, and studies have shown that most people put the weight straight back on once it’s over. Not to mention, they cost a hefty amount! The way to stay healthy, and keep extra weight off is to make your “diet” a lifestyle, eating plenty of fruit, veg, and lean protein and getting regular exercise. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are killer abs!

Learn to meal-prep

Healthy lunches from the high street certainly add up, and there are also plenty of hidden calories, salt, and sugar in shop-bought sarnies and salad dressings. Buying veg, meat and good carbohydrates like quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato and whole-wheat pasta in bulk and taking a few hours out of your Sunday to make a few meals for the week can make a big difference to the size of your purse and your waist.

First, you need to invest in a whole load of Tupperware containers, as you need to store everything correctly. Also, remember to make the most of your oven and stove, as this will save you plenty of time. Try Pinterest for some great meal ideas that will keep in the fridge all week.

Make the switch

Are you a brand name shopper, or loyal to a high-end supermarket? It may be time to downgrade. Fresh produce is just as good from the market and budget shops at a fraction of the price. To see if you can do it, try going one level down on every product for just a week. So, if you usually go name brand try supermarket premium grade, or from supermarket premium to budget. We bet you won’t notice the difference.

Embrace your freezer

Fresh fruit and vegetables are great, but they cost more, aren’t always in season and spoil quickly. Nowadays you can find most of your favourite items from the grocery section in the freezer aisle too, and you’ll be surprised by the savings you can make. Frozen berries are a delicious addition to smoothies and as a bonus, you won’t need to add extra ice. Frozen spinach also works perfectly in soups and pasta sauces, and you’d never know the difference.

Don’t be taken in by gadgets

Fitness can be boosted by technology, but many smartphones now come with built-in trackers, or you can buy apps for a few pounds that do the same job. Fitness blogger Lottie Rainbow also says taking a more holistic approach is best: “You may fall into an unhealthy obsession with tracking steps, calories burnt, calories consumed and so on. This could turn your health and fitness into something categorised by a number rather than it being enjoyable and sustainable.”

So, whether it’s your diet or fitness you want to improve, there’s always a way to do this without making your wallet lighter.

Article from Alessandro Bova on behalf of Aviva.

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