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Friday, March 7, 2014

Heart Health On A Budget

Keeping your heart healthy can quickly take a toll on your cash flow. Healthy foods, gym memberships, heart medication, doctors visits, and lab test can add up pretty fast.

Fortunately there are ways to cut corners and maintain a heart healthy lifestyle even on a tight budget.

Prepare Your Own Food

Sure, you may think that eating healthy costs more money than eating junk, but it doesn't have to. Eating lots of fresh produce, meats, and dairy may seem pricey, but it costs less than dining out. Preparing your own food is much healthier and cheaper than fast food lunches and take-out dinners.

In addition to packing a lunch, and preparing dinner, make your own snacks. It is less expensive and better for you than the prepackaged junk that you find on store shelves. Master a good hummus recipe and enjoy it with raw veggies, or bake up some homemade kale chips or bran muffins.

When you are in control of the ingredients that go into your food, your body wins.

Skip The Gym

Regular exercise plays a big role in maintaining good heart health. Unfortunately, gym memberships can burn a hole in your pocket.

Luckily, you don't need a gym to get into shape. Taking a brisk walk, run, or bike ride outside is all you need to get and stay healthy. Local parks often offer areas for shooting a game of hoops or enjoying a tennis match with a friend.

Although they are not usually free, local churches and schools offer low cost, instructor lead classes like Yoga, Pilates, and aerobics.

Go Generic

Even if you have the best health insurance, the cost of some heart medications can be astronomical.

Generic medications are just as good as their name brand counterparts and are exponentially cheaper. Ask your pharmacist if your current medication is available in a generic form, and speak with your doctor about switching.

Many pharmacies even have programs for generic medications that can help you save even more. Pharmaceutical companies, in some cases, offer rebates, coupons, and grants for certain medications they manufacture, which can help cover some of the cost when a generic is unavailable.

Better yet, your doctor may be able to provide you with some free samples here and there to help cut out some of the out of pocket expense.

Get Free Testing

Doctor visits and laboratory bills can wind up costing an arm and a leg, especially when you are being monitored for a heart condition.

Many churches, schools, and local municipalities hold health fairs or wellness days where people can get themselves free testing. Many of these events offer free blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and vision tests.

While this should not be used in lieu of going to a doctor, it can help to cut down on lab bills. Regular monitoring may also help to reduce the frequency of visits to the doctor.

Maintaining good heart health on a budget is easily achievable. Preparing your own meals, using free resources to exercise, taking generic medication, and finding free medical testing sites in your area can help cut down on expensive costs associated with heart healthy living.

Jason Kane spent 2013 doing everything he could to improve his heart health. His goal in 2014 is to help other people do the same. He is a professional blogger who writes for AEDs Today.


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