In 2003, six in 10 Americans were estimated to spend their working days sitting in front of a computer, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic. At home, people spend about four hours per day watching TV plus additional time on their smartphones. This sedentary lifestyle comes at a huge cost. Sedentary people have an increased risk for chronic health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and some cancers, explains this same study.
Not only are these conditions bad for your health, but they can be expensive, too. According to an article published in Obesity Reviews, obesity can cost individuals over $1,700 per year in medical expenses. If you’re looking to save your health and your money, it’s best to be healthier with some of these tips:
Cook at Home
One of the best ways to stay healthy and keep your budget on track is to cook at home instead of eating out at a restaurant. Cooking at home allows you to choose healthier ingredients, like olive oil instead of butter, or to use less of unhealthy ingredients like salt. Cooking also serves as a conscious reminder of portion control. Most restaurants load up the calories by serving portions that are twice as big as needed.
And, ultimately, feeding a family at home costs a fraction of what it costs at a restaurant. For example, a dinner of pasta and salad costs $2.22 per person at home as compared with $10.99 per person for the same meal at a restaurant, according to Colorado State University.
Bike to Work
Sure, you may have to work at a desk all day, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Biking to work is a healthy alternative to driving, and it helps make up for some of those sedentary hours. According to Bike to Work Day, biking 10 miles to and from work can burn hundreds of calories, depending on your weight and speed.
Biking also saves you money on gas each week and on maintenance costs in the long run. Additionally, this increased level of physical activity can save you medical costs by keeping you fit and decreasing your risk for obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Track Your Health
Make technology work for you for a change by investing in a fitness tracker. These trendy smart devices track your pulse, activity levels, calories burned and sleep patterns. This information is converted from raw data into consumer-friendly points and graphs that make personal health goals more realistic and attainable. Some smartwatches, like the Samsung Gear S, combine the health benefits of a fitness tracker with the convenience of a smartphone. And for just $350, the full retail price of a smartwatch is still way below the cost of paying for a personal trainer or gym membership. Plus, your achievements and your embarrassments are between you and your wrist.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water is often a mantra of health professionals, and for good reason. If you curb your 3 p.m. cubicle cravings with a glass of water instead of soda, you can save about 240 calories per day. Not only does drinking more water save on calories, but it costs much less than water. Water-drinkers also maintain better oral hygiene, which can save in massive dental bills later in life. Make the choice an easy one by keeping a water bottle or tumbler with you at all times.
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