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Inexpensive ways to stay healthy

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Stay healthy on the cheap!

Getting healthy this year doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, all you really need to do is follow these quick and easy (and mostly free!) tips from SheKnows.com. Here's our list of inexpensive ways to stay fit and healthy.

Woman going for a walk

Walk or run

You don't need a gym membership to give your body a cardiovascular boost. Studies have shown that a brisk walk every day for at least 30 minutes is enough to keep your metabolism revved and burning calories. If you're looking for a more intense cardio workout, opt for running or speed walking.

Walk for better health

Grow a garden

Research shows gardeners, or those who frequently immerse themselves in nature, have lower stress levels than those who don't. As an added bonus, if you plant vegetables, you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor once harvest season comes around.

What can horticulture therapy do for you?

Eat your breakfast

Many people, despite the efforts of public health agencies, still skip breakfast every morning. The result: You end up with a lower metabolism (food fires up your metabolism in the morning), you'll burn fewer calories (and likely consume too many calories later in the day) and, in some cases, skipping breakfast can weaken your immune system (your immune system needs nourishment to do its job). Eating breakfast is a surefire way to keep your body strong and running at peak performance all year long.

Benefits of breakfast

Get more sleep

Most people don't get the the daily dose of sleep – six to eight hours – needed to heal and repair the body from the day's activities. What's more, skipping shut eye can cause everything from weight gain and heart disease, to increased stress levels and a decreased sex drive. By going to bed one hour earlier every day, you'll better ensure your body gets the restorative rest it needs.

How to develop healthy sleep habits

Get intimate

Whether you hold onto a hug with a friend or schedule some sexy-time with your partner, indulging in a bit of regular intimacy is as important to your body as going for a daily walk or run. Why? Because your heart and mind can better thrive in supportive environments with well-connected relationships. The closer and more open you are with your friends and loved ones, the lower your stress level will be and the stronger you'll be when, and if, something bad happens.

Sex and your heart

Skip the salt and sugar

Quite simply, salt and sugar are killing Americans. In moderation, eating salt and sugar – like all foods – is fine. But, unfortunately, Americans overindulge in these common food additives to the point that they put themselves at risk for heart disease and diabetes. Food companies are partially to blame; recent studies have shown that they are adding salt and sugar to food products at a dangerously unhealthy rate. But, ultimately, your diet is your responsibility, so start cutting back on the salt and sugar in your everyday foods. Additionally, read food labels to see how much sodium and sugar you're ingesting from prepackaged goods and limit your intake.

Flavorful ways to cut the sodium

Wash your hands

Keeping your hands free of germs, by washing them with soap and water as soon as you enter your home or get to your office, is one of the most effective ways to ward off seasonal colds and flu. This is particularly important as we enter the third wave of flu season, which can extend into March and April.

Cold and flu? Not you!

Staying healthy doesn't have to be an expensive endeavor. All it takes is motivation and a few changes in your daily routine.

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