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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

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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