Health On A Budget Top Tips
There are many aspects of good health that cost little or no money to accomplish. Here are some of the top ways to achieve good health while on a budget
Having good health does not require a large budget or expense account. In this article, we will discuss the many inexpensive ways to good health.
Get Some Sun.
Vitamin D (also known as the Sunshine Vitamin) is used to strengthen bones and absorb calcium. It also plays a role in the health of the immune system, cardiovascular system, muscles, brain, pancreas, and cells throughout the body.1
It is estimated that 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient. In the United States, 50% of nursing home residents and those in hospitals are deficient in this important nutrient2. Common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include the following:2
- Muscle aches
- Muscle twitching
Children suffering from a vitamin D deficiency may experience the following signs:
- Bone changes
- Developmental delay
The potential link of a vitamin D deficiency to various health conditions such as heart disease and malignant growth tumors is also being studied.
How to Get Vitamin D
One of the easiest ways to get vitamin D is to simply go outside, particularly in the spring, summer and fall. The body makes vitamin D when the sun has direct exposure to the skin. Sitting by a window will not produce the vitamin due to the glass blocking the ultraviolet light. In addition, sitting in the shade will produce very little vitamin D as well. Fifteen minutes of going outside and getting sun daily is often recommended.
In addition to the sun, vitamin D can be obtained via food consumption. The top vitamin D rich foods include the following:
- Oily fish
- Orange juice (fortified)
Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is another method to achieve good health. With each inhale, oxygen enters the lungs and is transported throughout the body via the blood. Carbon dioxide is removed from the body with each exhale. Problems could arise if a person is a shallow breather. Shallow breathing occurs when a person takes in more breaths than normal in any given minute. This could cause a carbon dioxide buildup in the body. Shallow breathing can be linked to a variety of conditions, including the following:
- Lung infections
- Panic attacks
- Heart failure
Increased risk of anxiety disorders. Studies on shallow breathing show that several anxiety disorders have been linked to altered breathing, perception of breathing and response to breathing manipulation techniques.3
Reduced cortisol levels. Another study on stress and anxiety found that diaphragmatic breathing “had a significant interaction effect” on cortisol levels. Researchers also noted diaphragmatic breathing could improve sustained attention, affect and cortisol levels.4
Higher pain threshold. Deep breathing may have an effect on pain threshold. A study on deep breathing found that pain detection and pain threshold saw a significant decrease from the effects of slower, deeper breathing.5
Other potential benefits of deep breathing include detoxifying the body, increasing energy, improving food digestion, increasing immunity, and improving posture.
Deep Breathing Techniques
Deep breathing exercises can be performed at any time throughout the day. Here is a simple deep breathing technique:
- Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent. Place head on pillow.
- Place pillow under knees for support
- Place left hand on upper chest and right hand below rib cage.
- Slowly inhale deeply through the nose, feeling the stomach press into the right hand.
- Tighten stomach muscles while exhaling, feeling the stomach empty of air.
- Repeat for several minutes.
Exercise is one of the best ways to achieve and maintain good health. A few health benefits of exercise include the following:
Helps alleviate symptoms of depression. Studies indicate exercise releases endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are believed to help decrease feelings of stress.6
Helps maintain weight. Exercises can burn calories, which could help maintain ideal body weight levels.
Helps manage insulin spikes and blood sugar levels. High intensity exercise has been shown to improve blood glucose in both diabetics and non-diabetics. On average, test subjects saw blood glucose levels remain improved one to three days after exercise was completed.7
Strengthen bones and muscles. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking and strength training can strengthen both bones and muscles.
Improves brain health. Physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive processes and memory. Researchers also note physical exercise can reverse some effects of the sedentary lifestyle, as well as delay the effects of degeneration in the brain.8
Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise can help strengthen the heart muscle, allowing it to pump blood throughout the body more efficiently.
Improve sleep quality. Exercise can decrease stress and anxiety, which could help increase total sleep time, resulting in a better quality of sleep.
Popular Budget-Conscious Exercises
The following popular exercises are good choices for those on a budget:
- Bodyweight exercises (pushups, lunges, squats, etc.)
- Ab exercises (sit-ups, planks, crunches, etc.)
- Skipping rope
- Jumping jacks
For best results, working out three to five days per week for a minimum of thirty minutes is advised. Consulting with a doctor prior to starting an exercise routine is recommended.
Eat Healthy Foods
Watching what a person eats is one of the easiest ways to maintain good health. Decreasing the intake of fast food, processed foods, sugary snacks, and foods with artificial colors and preservatives could help decrease the risk of a variety of health issues. Weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and elevated blood sugar levels are all potential health risks associated with a poor diet.
Eating a variety of foods is essential for good health. Here are a few of the top nutrient-dense foods in various categories:
|Fruits||Nuts & Seeds||Veggies||Beans & Legumes||Grains|
|Apples||Almonds||Asparagus||Black beans||Brown rice|
Meats and Poultry
Eggs and Dairy
|Seafood||Herbs and Spices|
In its simplest terms, stress is a factor that can cause tension in the body. This tension can be physical or mental and caused by various physical, mental, or emotional factors. Stress is purely subjective: what one person considers “stressful” may not have the same effect on others. As a result, it’s important for each individual to know what situations cause them to feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed.
According to studies, the most common sources of stress include the following:9
- Occupational stress. Job workload, job demands, and the degree of control or say an employee has in their work are all potential contributors to occupational stress.
- Social isolation and marital stress. This includes having marital problems/conflicts and the lack of supportive relationships.
- Low socioeconomic stress. Includes factors such as educational attainment, occupational status and income.
If left unchecked, studies indicate chronic stress could play a role in a variety of health issues, including the following:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Breathing difficulties
- Joint pain
- Cardiovascular ailments
Ways to Decrease Stress
In addition to knowing what causes a person to feel stress, learning how to manage those feelings is essential. The following are popular ways to decrease stress:
- Improved time management
- Learning to say “no”
- Relaxation techniques (Deep breathing exercises, yoga, etc.)
- Talking to someone (not keeping feelings inside)
- Getting adequate sleep nightly
- Decreasing clutter (becoming more organized)
- Eating healthy foods (see chart)
|Top Foods to Eat When Stressed||Top Herbs to Eat When Stresses||Top Foods to Avoid When Stressed|
|Brazil nuts||Lavender||Artificial sweeteners|
|Dark chocolate||Turmeric||Processed carbohydrates|
|Green tea||Chamomile||Excess caffeine|
Maintaining good health does not have to be expensive or require a large budget. Many aspects of good health can be accomplished by simply making a few lifestyle adjustments that don’t take much time or energy to accomplish. By simply going outside, managing stress levels, eating a healthy diet and practicing deep breathing techniques, a person can be one step closer to achieving the good health they desire, all while on a budget.
1. Nair R, Maseeh A. Vitamin D: The “Sunshine” Vitamin. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012 Apr;3(2):118-26. doi: 10.4103/0976-500X.95506. [PMID: 22629085]; PMCID: PMC3356951. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/
2. Omeed Sizar; Swapnil Khare; Amandeep Goyal (et al). Vitamin D Deficiency. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. [PMID: 30335299] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532266/
3. Paulus MP. The breathing conundrum-interoceptive sensitivity and anxiety. Depress Anxiety. 2013 Apr;30(4):315-20. doi: 10.1002/da.22076. Epub 2013 Mar 6. [PMID: 23468141]; PMCID: PMC3805119.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805119/
4. Ma X, Yue ZQ, Gong ZQ, Zhang H, Duan NY, Shi YT, Wei GX, Li YF. The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Front Psychol. 2017 Jun 6;8:874. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00874. [PMID: 28626434]; PMCID: PMC5455070.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/
5. Volker Busch 1, Walter Magerl, Uwe Kern (et al). The Effect of Deep and Slow Breathing on Pain Perception, Autonomic Activity, and Mood Processing–An Experimental Study. Pain Med. 2012 Feb;13(2):215-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01243.x. Epub 2011 Sep 21. [PMID: 21939499 DO]I: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01243.x.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21939499/
6. Lynette L. Craft, Ph.D. and Frank M. Perna, Ed.D., Ph.D. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed. Craft LL, Perna FM. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;6(3):104-111. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v06n0301. [PMID: 15361924]; PMCID: PMC474733.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/
7. Adams OP. The Impact Of Brief High-Intensity Exercise On Blood Glucose Levels. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2013;6:113-22. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S29222. Epub 2013 Feb 27. [PMID: 23467903; PMCID]: PMC3587394.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3587394/
8. Di Liegro CM, Schiera G, Proia P, Di Liegro I. Physical Activity and Brain Health. Genes (Basel). 2019 Sep 17;10(9):720. doi: 10.3390/genes10090720. [PMID: 31533339]; PMCID: PMC6770965.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770965/
9. Spruill TM. Chronic Psychosocial Stress And Hypertension. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2010 Feb;12(1):10-6. doi: 10.1007/s11906-009-0084-8. [PMID: 20425153]; PMCID: PMC3694268.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3694268/