Seven ways to stay fit and healthy on a budget

Petrol and power prices are on the rise and as volatile as Bitcoin, putting stress on many 2018 budgets across the country. If the result is cutting the cord on some fitness spending, that's cool – just don't negate keeping fit, lean, and healthy.

"It's too expensive to be healthy" is merely a BS excuse.

Here's how to reap fitness rewards while spending less:

1. Train at the park

You might spend $15 per week at your gym, or you might be a tad trendier and pay $50 – both add up to $750 and $2500 per year in expenditures. Skip the gym, and train outdoors. Local councils have parks with room to do sprints, lunges, squats, planks, and sit ups. Many of those parks have functional, outdoor gyms to do pull-ups and other exercises to keep fit and cash in the pocket.

2. Create a home gym

This year, I've been working out on my balcony to rid my body of my golf ball white farmer's tan. All that's needed for a home gym is a skipping rope (weighted handles preferred) and a kettlebell.

A circuit (four rounds) of 150 skips, 15 kettlebell squat thrusters or swings, 15 push ups, 15 sit ups, 10 kettlebell curls, five burpees, and side planks requires these two very affordable pieces of equipment and just a little bit of space. With zero cost (time and money) in getting to a gym, savings are immediate.

3. Re-think the drink

Protein drinks and pre-workout supplements / energy drinks are often consumed daily at around $4 per serving – that's around $1500 per year.

Know this: 200g of steak / salmon contain 50g / 40g of protein. Obtain your daily protein needs from mother nature, not the convenience store. Further, a cup of black coffee at home is much cheaper and provides a healthier caffeine jolt for pre-workout nutrition.

4. Utilise leftovers

Lunch in the city is expensive, and with so much choice it's easy to succumb to a salty-fatty-sugary one. Leftovers are a healthy person's best friend.

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Make something tasty, fresh, and healthy at night – saving at least $5 per day ($1250 per year) with a portion-controlled meal at lunch with zero food coma.

5. Spend less on tech

We wake and check email. We ride on trains gazing at smartphones. At work we spend all day using gadgets. And then with exercise? We connect to even more apps.

Turn the apps off, and just get moving. Sure, there are some free ones, but you pay with either information and privacy or additional features that the average punter doesn't need to keep the weight down in 2018. Disconnect from monitoring every movement - it's about mind-body health.

6. Re-think your treadmill

Sand jogs / walks, hill runs, outdoor jogging, and running the stairs are functional, efficient, free, and so much healthier than pounding away indoors on a paid conveyor belt.

7. Don't fall for fads

Don't fall for the psychological fallacy of: "If I spend $500 on fitness clothing, I know I'll use it."

Spend a few bucks on sports bras (women) and compression shorts (men), as holding your bits in place is safe, healthy, and improves performance.

Good health is free

Water is free. Frozen veggies are cheaper and just as nutritious as fresh. Vitamin D comes from the sun, not pills. Riding a bike is cheaper than Uber. Use discount sites like GroupOn for shoes, clothing, massages, and discount gym memberships. Harbour hikes and bushwalks are plentiful.

People who exercise save even more money.

Twenty-six thousand people were monitored, and as reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association, those with a history of heart disease but maintain a fitness regime save $2500 per year in medical costs over those that do not. Those with no history of heart disease save $500 per year by keeping fit. As the decades go by, that's a lot of money in the bank.

Health is wealth, and the above could save Australians numerous thousands per year. Yet the latest trend is dipping into retirement savings for weight loss surgery - if only they would have taken the stairs instead of the escalator.

If your health and fitness spending has to be curtailed, then so be it – just don't let it affect your movement and well-being in 2018. Whatever you spend, it's an investment in your health if you use it.

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