15 No-Cost or Low-Cost Ways to Improve our Health Anytime and Anywhere

I get it. You’re tired, you just ate a mountain of cookies, you spent a week away, now you’re looking uphill at the New Year and, like me, you are looking for inspiration and low-cost solutions. Try these:

  1. Set lofty, measurable, and attainable health and fitness goals. Drop weight? How much?; Lower blood pressure? What’s your target?; Run or ride your bike? How often and how far?
  2. Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Adjust your schedule if necessary, but this may give you that morning boost that you’re looking for.
  3. Don’t sit more than 2 hours at a time. Re-imagine your work environment, and while you’re at it, start to reconsider your TV and screen time ‘fixes’.
  4. Pack a lunch 3 days a week. This requires some evening or morning prep time, but almost always results in a healthier, cheaper, and more productive lunchtime.
  5. Develop a yoga habit, at home or in a local studio. Gaiam Yoga has some excellent DVD resources, and 15-20 minutes with Rodney Yee is time well spent to start or end a busy day.
  6. Add an element to your exercise routine. A comprehensive weekly routine should have strength, flexibility, cardiovascular exercise, relaxation, and balance activities. Fill your void.
  7. Invest time in your core. Lower abdominal, pelvic floor, and low back/buttocks strength is critical for pain-free and optimal posture and spinal function. Pilates Mat Classes are available in our Zionsville location three mornings a week if you need a booster shot!
  8. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh-air, despite the weather. Establish an active outdoor lifestyle early in the year, and it just gets easier as the weather improves.
  9. Stretch yourself. Set aside a few minutes at the beginning or end of each day to stretch your shoulders, spine, hips, and legs. It feels good, and will help you to identify ‘hot spots’ for care.
  10. Emphasize substance over style. It is far better to be out there with your jeans or gray sweatpants than to be watching from the couch. The important thing is to be warm, dry, allow for uninhibited movements, and to be sure to be visible in the dark.
  11. Join a class. Sometimes the inertia of the couch needs stronger competition for your interest. There are thousands of great classes in the Indianapolis area at multiple cost and fitness levels. Join if you need camaraderie, discipline, instruction, or just want a change of scenery.
  12. Wear appropriate shoes. Proper size, proper style for the activity, and not too broken down. Check with your PT or local shoe shop for an expert analysis of your footwear needs.
  13. Exercise at least 3-5 days a week for 30-60 minutes. More if you are already at this level. If you can increase your commitment to exercise 10% a week over the previous year, expect great things! Keep a log of your exercise, weight, blood pressure, and general fitness for the year.
  14. Drop a bad habit. Alcohol? Tobacco? Social media? T.V.? Pain medication? Refined sugar? Cut back or let it go and free yourself from the need for artificial stimulation. Replace with deeply rewarding activities such as people time, food prep, reading, active relaxation, and exercise.
  15. Find exercise buddies. One of my greatest pleasures is to share riding time with friends who have become important and trusted accountability partners to my health and fitness. Some yearly, some monthly, and some weekly, but always making the ride more memorable.

My plan this year is to utilize many of these tips and tricks to make some serious inroads into my personal health and fitness. I hope that you can do this as well. If you are more apt to take a nibble than a bite, any five of these 15 activities would certainly provide a low investment boost to your health and fitness.

If you are unsure how to implement a personal health and fitness program, call us for a Sustained Optimal Performance consultation. And of course, if pain or injury are preventing you from beginning or continuing to pursue your active lifestyle, let our skilled physical therapists assess your condition and make recommendations for treatment.

To your best Health and Fitness journey,