What is a simple, inexpensive way to improve my health?

The most simple, inexpensive way to improve your health will be to get active and eat well. Forms of exercise are as simple as walking. Foods to eat lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
The following are some inexpensive ways to improve your health:
  • Always buy vegetables and fruit in season. This old-fashioned wisdom guarantees the best produce for the least coin. And peak produce is easy to spot. Just look for whatever's most plentiful at the grocery store or farmers market.
  • Find a buddy. A health club can easily cost $50 or $100 per month—plus the gas to get there. Save big by teaming up with a neighbor, a "virtual" Internet workout partner, or a spouse. Someone who genuinely wants you both to succeed in getting healthier. The accountability and cheerleading you give each other will get both of you up and out when it's cold or wet outside or you're just plain tired—and that's priceless. Alternatively, enlist the bored mutt who's been gnawing on your slippers: In one study, walking Fido 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week led to a 14-pound weight loss for humans. The canines got healthier, too.
  • Look for healthy bargains. They're usually right in front of you. One recent USDA study found that you can get three fruit servings plus four vegetable servings a day for a total of 64 cents—much less than the cost of a candy bar or a fast-food snack. Other healthy, low-cost choices include oatmeal instead of expensive boxed cereals; beans instead of red meat; and frozen orange juice concentrate instead of fruit punch, soda, or bottled OJ.
  • Quit smoking. There are scores of reasons to do this, but the one that fits this column is that the current average price of a pack of cigarettes is $4.22, and as much as $7.50 to $10 in places like Chicago and New York City. If you're a pack-a-day smoker, quitting will put an extra $1,540 or more per year in your pocket while it removes all kinds of gunk from your lungs.
  • Treat your feet. The 26 bones in your feet get a pounding every day. Take care of your feet with well-cushioned, well-fitted walking or running shoes and your feet will take care of you. Always wear them when you'll be walking or standing for long periods of time; replace every 6 to 9 months. Get measured, wearing your favorite sports socks, at least once.
  • Spring for a pedometer. For the price of two movie tickets and some popcorn, you can own a powerful fitness tool: a step counter. A good one costs $15 to $20 (supercheap models are notoriously inaccurate). Clip it on and set out. Goal 1: Walk 30 minutes a day, every day. Goal 2: Work up to 10,000 steps a day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.