5 tips to boost your health and save money in 2022
After the rush of celebrations and shopping in December, health groups have come together to offer some tips to boost your health and bank balance in the New Year.
1. Drink more water
It’s an obvious choice but for good reason. Switching to water instead of sugary drinks is a great way to boost your health and cut your sugar intake in 2022. Each year, Australians drink around 86L of sugary drinks each. That includes soft drinks, slushies, juices and sports drinks. A single 600mL bottle of soft drink contains around 16 teaspoons of sugar, while a slushie contains a whopping 23 teaspoons of sugar.
All this sugar contributes to unhealthy weight gain, tooth decay and chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes. Plus, it is a costly habit when you consider the alternative is free. Switching to water is a quick and easy fix. It is better for your health and costs nothing, especially if you remember to bring your own water bottle to refill when you go out.
2. Quit smoking
Smoking is still the leading cause of chronic disease in Australia. But the good news is you can start reaping the benefits as soon as you quit, with improvements to your overall health and fitness starting right away. And you could start seeing the financial benefits as soon as you quit. The Quit online calculator can help you work out exactly how much you could save by giving up smoking.
Importantly, you don’t have to do it alone. Quitline (13 7848) has trained counsellors who will listen to you and provide support and tips to help you quit. Even if you have tried to quit in the past, it is never too late to try again.
3. Pop on your sneakers and go for a walk
Walking is a great way to boost your health. And it’s free! All you need is a pair of shoes or choose to go barefoot in the park or on the beach. As an alternative to costly gym memberships, walking for around 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes by a whopping 30 to 40 per cent.
Why not grab a buddy and go for a walk together? Or even look for a walking group near you to boost your connection to others in the community and benefit your mental and physical health together.
4. Drink less alcohol
The silly season is behind us and many of us may be feeling the after-effects of long lunches and end of year celebrations. Now is the perfect time to cut down on how much alcohol you drink and reduce your risk of chronic diseases like cancers, while saving hundreds or thousands of dollars by the end of the year.
There are a range of steps you can take to drink less alcohol in 2022. Switching to non-alcoholic options when you’re out (or even for every second drink) is a good way to cut down, and it’s a good idea to steer clear of buying rounds of drinks, as there is often an expectation from the group to drink more.
If you’re home, test your creativity by making your own mocktails or refreshing summer drinks without alcohol. Find some LiveLighter recipes to get you started. Not only will your bank balance thank you, your health and body will too!
5. Rediscover fruit and vegetables
After the excesses of holiday feasting, there’s a simple joy in turning back to fresh, healthy food. There are many delicious salad recipes to keep you well-fed and energised, while exploring new combinations.
One tip to cut down on unhealthy food and shift towards healthier options is to mainly shop the outside aisles at the supermarket, focusing on fresh fruit, vegetables, and other essentials. Tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables are also a great option, as they are relatively cheap and minimally processed to retain their nutrients.
Other tried and tested tips include writing (and sticking to) a shopping list and not going shopping when you’re hungry.
There’s a common misconception that it is expensive to eat well, but Australian research has shown that it’s actually cheaper for families to buy healthier foods. So, there’s a double benefit to eating well – saving money and reducing your risk of unhealthy weight gain, which is a major cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
So, take a moment this New Year to set some goals and save yourself some money by taking these five steps to boost your health. And if you are 45 years and over then start the year by asking your GP for a health check to get your health back on track in 2022.
Find out more about chronic disease risk factors here.