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10 Ways to Lose Weight Without Paying for a Gym Membership

10 Ways to Lose Weight Without Paying for a Gym Membership

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: by Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Holly Chavez

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

1. Salmon

Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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2. Blueberries

Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

Curcumin has also been shown to:

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  • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
  • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
  • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
  • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

4. Coffee

Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

Coffee can also:

  • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
  • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
  • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
  • Improve your memory.
  • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

5. Broccoli

What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

6. Bone broth

Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

7. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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8. Eggs

For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

9. Dark chocolate

You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

Conclusion

Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
[2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
[3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
[4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
[5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
[6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
[7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
[8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
[9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
[10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
[11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
[12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
[13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
[14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
[15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
[16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
[17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
[18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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