This is a guest post. News broadcasts are full of stories saying the economic crisis is affecting families and causing people to make cutbacks, but have your finances affected your health and are you finding it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Healthy living costs
We are told about the importance of maintaining good health all the time and warned about the implications of a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. But what happens if you cannot afford healthy foods or a gym membership? Many families are really feeling the pinch as a result of high rates of unemployment, as well as the rising costs of living and pay freezes, and often healthy options and activities are expensive.
If you go shopping and fill your cart full of ‘health’ foods, fresh produce and organic meat and fish, you are likely to get a nasty shock when you get to the check out, especially if you are used to buying frozen food or bulk-buying. The fact that healthy foods have become fashionable in recent years has only served to increase prices further, and if you are buying for a family food bills can be a real problem. Diet clubs and slimming groups have been proven to be effective, but they cost money and over a period of time, the cost can add up to a significant amount.
Another major cost for people looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle is gym or health centre membership, in addition to exercise class fees and team sport charges. Often, you have to sign up for a monthly or annual membership, or pay as you go, which works out more expensive but is not such a large investment up-front. If you are already struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month, you may simply not be able to afford a weekly exercise class or gym membership.
Health care costs
The cost of routine health care is also a worry. Dentistry is a contentious issue, with millions in the USA unable to afford to see a dentist or orthodontist on a regular basis. Routine appointments are really important for your oral and general health, and they also help to cut costs in the long run because the chances of developing an illness are reduced. However, if you cannot afford regular appointments for your family, then the risk of health problems increases and the situation become a vicious cycle. Add to this the costs of braces for children and it becomes a real problem.
Living a healthy lifestyle for less
Your health should be a priority and, thankfully, there are ways of living a healthy lifestyle without breaking the bank. If you cannot afford an exercise class or gym membership, why not try fitness DVDs at home or use the environment around you to exercise? You can keep fit by walking, jogging, swimming, kicking a ball around in the park with your kids or friends, and cycling, all for very little money.
If you are worried that your food bills are too high, try making large meals, such as pasta dishes, stews, homemade curry, soups and casseroles, and then freezing what you do not use for later use. Visiting a market, rather than a food store, is usually cheaper for fresh produce and meat, while buying products at the end of the day is usually a great way to save money when supermarkets mark their prices down.
If you are struggling with dental care costs research dental schools in your area. Students provide services for a fraction of the cost and they are supervised at all times by trained professionals. You can also look out for free dental events and get in touch with non-profit organizations to find out if you are eligible for help.
About the author: Richard writes for www.braces.org.uk and hopes that this articles goes some way to helping you realise that you are not alone and that there are still people out there who care. Good luck to you all.