Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Top 12 Inexpensive Healthy Habits

I remember a famous song that goes, “The best things in life are free.”  And I say the things that help us stay happy and healthy in life are indeed free.  Isn’t that good news?  Thank God!

Here are the top 12 INEXPENSIVE (generally FREE) habits that I discovered to help us prevent sickness and stay healthy:

1.  Get enough sleep – Sleep plays an important role in promoting physical health, longevity, and emotional well-being.  This explains why, after a good night’s sleep, you feel better, your thoughts are clearer, and you feel more receptive.  Without adequate sleep, judgment, mood, and ability to absorb and retain information are weakened.  Sleep helps repair our body and strengthens our ability to fight infection.  Sleep helps keep our heart healthy.  It also helps improve our memory.  A good night’s sleep can also help lower blood pressure and elevated levels of stress hormones.  Sleep helps control body weight issues and helps reduce your chances of diabetes.

How much sleep do you need?  As indicated in the chart below, sleep requirements vary by age, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Sleep Requirements by Age
Newborns (0-2 months old)
12-18 hours
Infants (3-11 months old)
14-15 hours
Toddlers (1-3 years old)
12-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years old)
11-13 hours
School-aged Children (5-10 years old)
10-11 hours
Teens (11-17 years old)
8-9 hours
7-9 hours

Sleep is free.  In order to have the energy to exercise, eat right, think clearly and simply be at your best, you need to be well rested.

2.  Get sunshine – According to Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD, a U.S. licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor, why buy vitamins when you can get them for free?  Twenty minutes of sunshine on our hands and face each day gives us the needed RDA of vitamin D.  Sunshine also boosts our serotonin levels and helps us feel happy.

3.  Drink water – Remember this: We can exist without food for many weeks, but without water we can only survive for a few days.  Drinking water is essential for digestion and nutrient absorption, aids circulation, helps control the body’s temperature, helps remove toxins from the body, and helps keep our skin healthy.  Water is free for the most part, quenching, energizing, and helps prevent illnesses like bladder infection, kidney infection, and kidney stones.  So drink lots of water.

4.  Exercise – Even though I must admit that I am guilty of not doing this on a more serious and regular basis, I believe this is a top priority that really needs to become a serious habit because regular exercise reaps a lot of valuable benefits.  It helps protect us from heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, non-insulin dependent diabetes, helps control weight, reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, helps better manage stress, and helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.

Exercise is the simplest inexpensive way to build your health.  You don’t need to shell off unnecessary expense for a fancy gym membership to exercise.  To gain substantial health benefits, you can establish a basic routine of calisthenics or aerobic activity in the same order every day for at least 20 minutes.  There are lots of dance and workout instructions that you can also download for free in the internet, in case you don't know what to do.  Of course, you can also go out and run, walk, bike, or swim just to burn up some calories.

5.  Diet – If you are overweight, chances are you are eating too much, or too much of the wrong kinds of foods.  Not only overeating is unreasonably expensive, but it costs you much more than just the rising cost of food.  It can cost you your health!  Diet doesn’t have to be expensive.  Most of the time you just need to cut down on food or eat less (and eat the right kinds of foods).

6.  Slow down and breathe – In your pursuit to accomplishing too many things in one day, chances are you are always in a rush, and chances are you are getting into a lot of stress.  Cutting back on activities and obligations may not only save you money, but it can save your life as well by reducing stress and lowering your risk of being in an accident from unnecessary rushing around.  Take time to slow down…and breathe!  You cannot be properly energized without adequate oxygen.  If stress is slowly killing you, it is time to start breathing.  Sit up  (or stand up) straight and breathe in and out deeply while seeing your belly rise and fall.

7.  Wash your hands and brush your teeth regularly – Washing our hands is a very important thing we can do to prevent illnesses like colds and flu.  Always wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, before touching your face, and after sneezing and coughing.  Brushing and flossing our teeth regularly are also important in developing proper oral hygiene.  Oral health is connected to overall health because the mouth, after all, is an integral part of the body.  These are also essential healthy habits that our children need to develop as they grow.  Remember:  “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

8.  Quit smoking and drinking – Smoking and alcoholism are leading causes of death.  Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to prevent not just various kinds of cancer like lung, mouth, lip, esophageal, stomach, and pancreatic cancer, but arthritis, emphysema, heart attack and stroke, and other forms of chronic illness as well.  Too much alcohol drinking, on the other hand, can cause liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, low resistance to infection, impaired and deteriorated sexual functioning resulting in impotence and infertility, weakened heart muscle and ability to pump blood, irregular heart beat and heart enlargement, and increases blood pressure, thus having the risk of heart attack and stroke.  Quit these vices now to save money today, and save your life tomorrow.
9.  Laugh – Just as the famous saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  Indeed, this priceless medicine is fun, free and easy to use.  It comes with numerous benefits to our physical and mental health as well as to our social well-being.  When we laugh, we release endorphins that make us feel good.  These endorphins reduce pain and stress.  Not only does it protect you from the damaging effects of stress, but it also strengthens your immune system, boosts your energy, diminishes pain, and prevents heart disease.  Humor and laughter eases anxiety and fear, improves mood, and adds joy and zest to life.  On the social side, it helps promote bonding, strengthens relationships, enhances teamwork, and helps soothe conflict.  So don’t be too serious.  Release the funny side of you, laugh!

10. Stay connected – Talking for the most part is free, and talking to someone about our stressors actually helps ease the stress in us.  Now is the time to reach out to others, you are not the only one with problems.  Being a friend for someone else and giving of yourself is also a great way to reduce stress.  Simple (and free) pleasures spent with loved ones, like walking in the park (holding hands) with your spouse or partner or playing with your children, or chit-chatting with friends, do not only help reduce stress but are also great bonding moments.

11. Commit acts of kindness – Not only does it have a profound impact in the lives of others, but you may not know that doing acts of kindness has positive health benefits as well.  Helping (or being kind) can enhance our feelings of joyfulness, vitality and self-worth, provides social contact, and can reduce feelings of helplessness, hostility, isolation and depression that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc.  So be kind to your family, your friends, your co-workers, to the poor and homeless, to animals, to yourself, be kind to everyone that you encounter whether they deserve it or not.

12. Pray – Not only it is the most ancient and widely practiced natural therapy, but to me, prayer is the most effective cost-free cure.  Scientific research showed that people who pray regularly are less likely to become sick, and when they do, they tend to recover faster.  And not only does prayer seem to have healing effects on the people who pray, but it also has beneficial healing effects on the person who is prayed for by others.  Research also reveals that people who pray have lower depression and suicidal tendencies.

A strong spiritual connection is always the key to surviving the hard times.  Whether you are praying for someone else, or praying for yourself, your faith is at work and you are entrusting life (yours and others) to God.  Also, reading and meditating on God's Word does not only help us to know more about our Maker and Savior, but  it gives us  peace of mind, refreshes our spirit, relieves stress, and gives us a positive outlook in life.  Surrendering to God all our worries and problems, gaining strength and wisdom from Him to get through life, and just being thankful for everything that's happening to our life right now, are simple and meaningful ways to help  us stay happy and healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually.

There are other healthy habits that I can think of right now, but living in an economically-challenged world, we can start by developing (or maintaining) these simple and inexpensive habits.

We certainly cannot afford to let our health fall apart, especially now that we are experiencing the “economic crunch”.  Stay positive to prevent stress from slowly killing you and giving chronic illness to your body.  During these hard times when many of us are financially challenged, we all need to stay as strong and happy and healthy as possible.

God bless!


  1. Hi, I am stopping by from Bloggy Mom's to say Hello. You have some wonderful content in this blog. I love it!
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    God bless!

  4. What a great post and so true! My family has been suffering non-stop winter illnesses for the past three months. We just keep getting something different and then spreading it to each member of the family. It's been awful and we've been trapped inside so much because of it.

    I told my husband the other day that it was time to take the girls outside and let them run in the fresh air. I didn't care if they were sick or not. I needed to open the windows, air out the house, let the sun shine on our faces. Winter in Western PA isn't very sunshiny so when the sun finally did show itself, I wasn't about to lose the opportunity. It's amazing how healing it is!

    We've also spent a lot of time in prayer, and have had others praying for us.

    I think we are turning the corner to spring though...and hopefully all this illness was just a sign of God filling our family with immunities so we can start a long period of great health!

    Thanks for the reminder of great ways to stay healthy!


  5. Nice Work, We like what we see and would follow, check us out at Its good to know that we still have ladies like you that are not ashamed of the Lord. Great work.

  6. These are absolutely right! Loved the post! This is a good reminder to me. Sometimes I get so busy with so many things to do, that I don't take care of myself as I should.

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  8. Very helpful blog. You're a blessing. THank GOD..


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