More than 68 percent of Americans are considered to be overweight, even though studies show that we are actually taking in fewer calories than a decade ago. The next step toward getting healthy is to reduce our stress levels and work out, but the average monthly gym fee of $40 is high for budget conscious individuals. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to lose weight for free.
1. Walk 30 Minutes a Day
Doctors have begun prescribing daily 30 minute walks, and this has proven to be a great way to lose weight, experience mood improvements and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. You can start off with a light stroll to build up strength and stamina, but be aware that you will need to work up to a brisk pace of three to four miles per hour in order to burn a significant amount of calories. Either way, though, committing to a 30 minute walk once per day will provide you with numerous health benefits for free!
2. Use a Free Calorie Counting App to Stay Focused
There are numerous paid calorie counting apps and programs that you could join, including Weight Watchers, but this is not the most budget friendly approach. Instead, look for a well-rated free app that makes it possible to record your daily calorie intake. Fooducate is a good example, and this particular app will even give you a daily food grade so that you can improve the quality of each calorie that you consume.
3. Go Swimming at a Free Local Beach
If you live in an area that has a free or relatively inexpensive beach, you can take advantage of the massive calorie burning potential of swimming. This will be much less expensive than joining a YMCA or local community center that has a pool. As an added bonus, swimming is known to tone muscles, boost endurance and lead to better cardiovascular health. Be sure to select properly fitted men’s or women’s swimwear, especially because research shows that wearing the wrong bikini size can lead to health complications such as indigestion and skin rashes.
4. Utilize Proven Stress Reducers
Stress and anxiety often lead to weight gain, which makes it imperative to reduce the stressors in your life. Adult coloring is one of the latest trends, and it has its roots in Carl Jung’s stress reduction research from the early 1900s. Reading is also a simple way to relax, and studies indicate that it is even more effective than walking, listening to music or enjoying a cup of tea. In other words, adding at least six minutes of reading into your daily routine can help you stop gaining stress weight.
5. Do Not Starve Your Body of Carbs
Low carb diets are all the rage, and they will help you lose weight temporarily. However, the human body needs a certain amount of carbs daily in order to function properly. If you starve yourself of carbs, you will eventually experience muscle loss, impaired thinking and even mood swings. The emotional issues that are attached to a lack of carbs are caused by a reduction in the body’s testosterone levels and an increase in cortisol. That’s right: carbs actually reduce the stress hormone. As long as you do not overdo it, carbs can be a very beneficial component of a healthy diet.
6. Boost Mental Health by Getting Out in Nature
Stanford researchers have discovered that taking a walk or hike in nature is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of depression. Therefore, if you take your daily walks in a nearby park or wooded area, you will receive multiple benefits from exercising. As an added bonus, this reduction in the symptoms of stress and depression will make it easier to avoid destructive patterns such as binge eating.
7. Take Advantage of Free Fitness Centers
If you live in an apartment or condo community, the odds are high that you have access to a free fitness center or a reduced gym membership. Additionally, many hotels offer free fitness centers for guests. Utilizing these fitness centers whenever applicable is a fantastic way to burn calories and lose weight without paying anything. The cost of these facilities is worked into your bill, so you will actually be throwing money away if you do not take advantage of them.
8. Reduce Your Salt Intake
Salt is linked to bloating and water retention, so slashing your salt intake can make you quickly lose 5 to 10 pounds. Some researchers have also stated that a high sodium diet will increase your odds of becoming obese by a shocking 20 percent. The daily recommended amount of sodium for adults is 2,300 milligrams, but most Americans consume at least 3,400 milligrams per day. Fortunately, salt alternatives such as Also Salt can help you get this problem under control. You will also want to steer clear of most microwavable and restaurant meals to stay within your daily sodium guideline.
9. Take 5 Minute Exercise Breaks
One of the major reasons that people fail to exercise is that they believe they do not have enough time in their day to fit it in. A close analysis of your day and how much of it is actually wasted should help you find 30 minutes for exercise, but if not, you can take five minute exercise breaks multiple times a day to help you get fit. Doing push-ups or planking for five minutes at a time will be very beneficial, and this can give you much-needed mental boost during your workday. Doing this six times a day will allow you to reach the 30 minute mark.
10. Increase Your Veggie Intake
Many people believe that vegetables cannot make them feel satiated, but this is not true. The fact is that some veggies, including broccoli, have enough fiber to be very filling. To make things even better, broccoli is one of the foods that burns more calories during the digestion process than it adds to your body. Zucchini, cauliflower and asparagus offer similar rewards. Fruit is another way to reduce calories without feeling hungry. Watermelon is an especially good choice because it has a lot of fiber but a small amount of calories. The best part about all of this is that turning to fruits and vegetables in lieu of higher calorie options will slash your grocery bill!
Now that you have a better understanding of how to lose weight for free, it is time to motivate yourself to get started. Watching a Netflix marathon instead of taking a walk or swimming might sound like more fun, but choosing this option repeatedly will reduce your life expectancy by two years. Even worse is the fact that your quality of life will be dramatically reduced if you maintain a sedentary lifestyle.
Featured photo credit: by Ed Gregory via stokpic.com