Bad health costs you your well-being and happiness, and shortens your life expectancy. But it also costs you money in health care expenses and medications. Here are three dozen top tips to save your life and your money.
1. Smoking – Everyone knows that smoking is deadly, and expensive too. It also aggravates allergies, and costs you more in cleaning bills to get the smoke smell out of your clothes. Quitting smoking reduces your risk or cancer while helping improve your respiratory system and allergies. And think of all the money you’ll save on cigarettes.
2. Drinking – Drinking takes a toll, not only on your budget but if you drink a lot, you could face a whole host of problems such as alcoholism, liver damage, chronic dehydration, a weak immune system, psychological problems and weight gain.
3. Junk Food – An occasional treat is okay, but a regular diet of hamburgers, fries and milkshakes is a lot of empty calories. You’ll eat healthier and cheaper if you make a sandwich at home.
4. Unsafe sex – Don’t put yourself at risk for AIDS and other diseases.
5. Tanning – According to some reports, tanning can more than double your risk of getting skin cancer. Stick with bronzers and fake tanners, both of which are cheaper than tanning salon visits.
6. Drug abuse – Drugs are expensive and wreck your health. Get help if you need to kick an addiction. Visit a health clinic if you don’t have money to get treatment.
7. Too much coffee – Excess caffeine affects your digestion, hurts your teeth, and ability to sleep.
8. Take vitamins – Ward off anemia with iron supplements, and avoid osteoporosis by taking calcium.
9. Drink (tap) water – Skip the sodas and other bottled drinks, and enjoy more glasses of water. You’ll save money, your skin will glow, and you’ll feel more energetic.
10. Get a good night’s sleep – Did you know that0Alack of sleep heightens the risk for a variety of major illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity? And you need sufficient rest to recharge your immune system.
11. Exercise – Strengthen your heart and live longer with simple walking or running; you don’t need an expensive gym. If the weather’s bad, try one of the cable TV fitness shows or borrow workout videos for free from your local library.
12. Avoid secondhand smoke – Avoid smoky bars and restaurants. Encourage your family and friends to stop smoking; it’ll be healthier for both them and you.
13. An apple a day… We all know the old saying that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." There’s some truth to it: eating lots of fruits and vegetables boosts your immune system.&n bsp; Plus, apples are cheap and a great source of fiber.
14. Wear sunscreen – Decrease your risk of skin cancer by taking an extra minute to use sunscreen on all areas of exposed skin.
15. Wear comfortable shoes – Bad shoes can lead to chronic back and foot pain. If you’re fashion conscious, then at least don’t wear heels all day and night; wear comfy shoes for walking and change into your heels at work or for going out.
16. Stretch – Proper stretching reduces stress, improves posture and balance, and can lessen the risk of injuries. Just make sure you’re warmed up before you do it.
17. Floss – Flossing is a whole lot easier and cheaper than getting gum disease and cavities.
18. Stress control – Find healthy ways to relieve stress, such as exercising or dancing.
19. Adjust your posture – Avoid possible back pain and heed your mom’s advice to sit up straight. If you work at a desk all day, get up and stretch your back, neck, and shoulders occasionally.
20. Get some (healthy) sun – A little sunshine gives you vitamin D. Just make sure to wear sunscreen.
21. Meditate – No mantras needed – just close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out for a few minutes to relieve stress and help clear your mind.
22. Eat slower – Help avoid tummy troubles by taking your time at meals. Chew slowly and savor every bite; this will also help you avoid overeating.
23. Take a break – Get up and stretch your legs or take a walk to the lobby to get away from your computer, relax your eyes and muscles and get some perspective.
24. Wash your hands – Such an easy way to rid yourself of germs, especially during cold and flu season. When you’re not near water, carry a portable size of anti-bacterial gel to rub on your hands.
25. Get more fiber – Fiber’s benefits include lowering your cholesterol and helping your colon function properly. Plus, you’ll feel fuller and will be less likely to overeat.
26. Unworthy sponges – Sponges can harbor germs and bacteria if you don’t replace them.
27. Get tested – Make sure you get a yearly checkup including cancer screenings; get STD tests if you’re sexually active. Women, don’t forget mammograms.
28. Visit the dentist – Regular teeth cleanings and periodic X-rays are much cheaper and less painful than neglecting your mouth and having to get root canal or dentures.
29. Replace your cosmetics and skin creams – Sure, you don’t want use them up, but outdated products can cause acne or skin irritations. Also avoid eye irritations by replacing your mascara.
30. Buy generic – Unless your doctor says otherwise, avoid brand names and save money with generic medications.
31. Get a flu shot – If you work in a crowded environment, are a senior citizen, or have certain health conditions, it’s important to protect yourself. Check with your doctor, employer, or county health department to see if you’re eligible for a free shot.
32. Never share toothbrushes, razors or other personal items – Don’t risk infections; keep your personal care items to yourself.
33. Save for health care – Even saving just $25 per month will be enough to cover some co-pays and deductibles for your health coverage.
34. Know your health history – Tell doctors and other health professionals about your health conditions, health history and genetic factors so they can treat you effectively and avoid unnecessary treatments.
35. Learn to cook – Restaurant food is expensive, and usually not as healthy. You don’t need to make anything fancy; salads and sandwiches are quick and easy choices.
36. Get a partner – Find a friend to share your healthy eating or exercise goals; you’ll motivate each other to be more successful.