Getting Healthy Shouldn’t Be Expensive: 3 Ways Seniors Can Boost Their Health On A Budget

*guest post by Jason Lewis

Looking at fitness classes, meal delivery services, and other health-related products, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that a healthy lifestyle is unaffordable. But the truth is, living well doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you want to improve your health but are worried about the expense, try these three strategies for staying healthy on a budget.

Avoid Sticker Shock at the Doctor

Out-of-pocket medical bills are disastrous for your budget. Not only is healthcare expensive, but most of the time you don’t know what a procedure costs until you get the bill.

Original Medicare comes with significant cost-sharing requirements. Without supplemental coverage, Medicare beneficiaries spend an average of $5,374 on out-of-pocket medical costs (not including premiums) every year. Seniors with high medical needs and no supplemental coverage spend more than $7,000 on out-of-pocket costs.

Supplemental coverage reduces out-of-pocket costs so your medical spending is more predictable and easier to budget around. Instead of getting hit with a big bill after a hospital visit, you pay premiums for a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan that reduces your cost-sharing requirements. If you have high medical needs, Medigap is likely the better choice for you. Otherwise, you can see greater savings with a Medicare Advantage plan like those from Humana. Medicare Advantage plans vary by state, so you’ll want to comparison shop and crunch numbers to find the most cost-effective plan for you.

Supplement Your Workout at Home

Staying active saves you thousands in healthcare costs, but if you’re only paying attention to your health while you’re at the gym, you’re not getting the most bang for your buck. Healthy habits at home — especially those focused on your mental health — can exponentially improve the health benefits you see from just working out alone. 

From speeding up physical recovery to making workouts more enjoyable, incorporating self-care into your life boast a slew of benefits. However, many people don’t make it a priority because they erroneously think taking care of themselves means long massages, expensive vacations, or other costly, time-consuming activities. 

Fortunately, that’s not the case. There are plenty of budget-friendly self-care tactics you can incorporate into your daily routine. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, daily meditation, a relaxing bath, and an earlier bedtime are just a few examples of how you can prioritize your own well-being without breaking the bank. 

Eat Healthy on a Budget

Are you convinced that eating healthy is too expensive? There’s no question that healthy foods can be costly, but they don’t have to be. If you shop all organic from a high-end grocer and eat out several times a week, a dietary shift could double your grocery bill. But there are plenty of ways to eat well without spending a fortune.

Instead of buying everything organic, stick to the dirty dozen for your organic produce and buy conventional for the rest. You should also eat smaller servings of free-range and grass-fed meat, getting more of your protein from plant sources instead. Rather than buying processed foods that hike up your grocery bill without providing much nutritional value, stick to whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fresh meat and fish. Buying from the bulk section is another great call: When producers don’t have to pay for packaging, those savings are passed along to you. Just pay attention to price, because while most things are cheaper in bulk, some bulk products could be more expensive.

There’s no shortage of products promising better health in exchange for your hard-earned money, but good health doesn’t come from a miracle cure or any other quick-fix solution. If you really want to enjoy your best health, start with the basics: good healthcare, an active lifestyle, and a healthy diet. These simple steps don’t cost a lot and will save you thousands in health problems throughout your senior years.

“Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–taking these steps can help us all.

*This post was written by guest blogger Jason Lewis. Jason is a personal trainer and the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created StrongWell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65.

You Said It, Not Me! (You Were Going To Get In Shape This Year)

Yes, you did.  You made that resolution to get fit for the New Year, but you hate the gym.  You even thought about walking, but then the weather is either too cold or too hot, and it gets dark too early.  So then you decided to buy a video or just watch one on your local cable network, but when you get tired you quit.  So you are in the same place you were last year.  You are dreading that cousin’s wedding because you are not in shape, and your hubby doesn’t dance so all you have to look forward to is “good” wedding cake (seriously, if your cake is bad, I am mad at you).

I have found a solution to both of your problems.  While getting ready for work one morning, I turned the television to Good Morning Texas and heard about 410 Line Dancers,  The hosts of the show were talking about high energy dancing for exercising.  They mentioned the “Wobble” which is one of the 2 dances that I do know, but I never thought of it as a workout.  Then I saw Isha Hutchinson and members of his class take to the floor.  Yes, it was the “Wobble” that I know, but he took it to a new level–one that does give you a work out. It was the “Wobble” that you do at that wedding and/or that class reunion with more intensity.  I was able to locate a video of Mr. Hutchinson teaching one of his classes.  Take a look below at Mr. Hutchinson teaching the “Wobble” and the “Chuck Baby” which is a new one for me.  At the 410 Line Dancers classes you can learn as many as 70 different line dances. 

dance 3
Isha Hutchinson, owner/instructor 410 Line Dancers

Mr. Hutchinson has been dancing for a little over 10 years, but has been in the entertainment field for most of his life.  Even though  female participants are in the majority of classes, he encourages  males to attend.  Make it a date night.  He has held private events for anniversary parties and other private events.

Classes are held at The Sandunga Dance Studio located at  2155 Marsh Lane Carrollton, TX 75006.  You can read more about the classes which go from beginner to advanced at their website at:  http://www.410linedancers.com/. You can also see Mr. Hutchinson teaching on Good Morning Texas on the site.

By attending these classes you can get fit and learn to dance.  You will be able to get into the right dress for that class reunion, and dance in it too. Line dancers come in all sizes and ages.  You put as much as you want into it to get the results that “you” want.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear” so why not learn something new while getting fit.  Bring your significant other or your best girlfriends for a fun night out.

Why Be Heart Healthy? (Because) Life Is Why!

Men and women are alike in so many ways, but one way they are different is the symptoms they have when having a heart attack.  Take a few minutes to see some of the typical symptoms women have when having a  heart attack.

Just before I turned 50, I experienced a few of these symptoms, plus a few others.  I can remember my heart racing like something had just jumped out and scared me–it would not slow down.  The sense of doom would come over me, and it seemed like the world was just closing in on me–I was going through this tunnel that seemed to get narrower as I kept going.  There was no pain at all.  At the hospital I was informed by one doctor that I was paranoid, but the final doctor sat down and talked family history with me.  My father and his brothers had all died from heart disease at about the age of 50–so there was family history which could have been in the back of my mind. He did assure me though that I was not paranoid. There were tests run, monitors worn and even tests that I paid out-of-pocket for done.  In the end I was given a heart healthy thumbs up.

By the same token, my best friend for life said that she felt like she was nauseated, and would go and throw up, and feel better for a few minutes, and it would start again.  This routine went on for some time.  Then she felt like she was having a horrendous tooth ache.  At the emergency room she was told she was having a heart attack. In fact she has survived two.

We are exactly the same age give or take a few days, but each of us has a story to tell about our hearts. We both listened to our bodies and took action which is one of the things women typically don’t do. As women we must first take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.

The American Heart Association of Tarrant County is sponsoring it’s annual Go Red” event on Friday, February 20, 2015 at 10 AM at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.  This event helps the organization inform everyone about the number 1 killer of women–heart diseaseHeart disease kills more women than all of the cancers combined.  It is a fact that 1 in 3 women will die of heart disease.  Take a look at the video below to understand that “life is why” you should learn more about heart disease in women.

For more information about the “Go Red” event, go to:  http://tarrantcountygored.ahaevents.org/site/displayPage.do?siteIdCode=AEVQVFZ4&pageId=9441

If you can’t make the luncheon, you can donate online or call to ask about volunteering with the American Heart Association of Tarrant County at 817-698-5400. and/or go to their website at:  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Affiliate/FortWorth/Texas/Home_UCM_SWA007_AffiliatePage.jsp#

Check for the nearest affiliate of the American Heart Association in your local area for information.

As women we can take care of others only if we take care of ourselves first.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Be heart healthy (because) life is why!

And So It Goes

It’s been a wild and crazy ride with the ladies of So Fit.  We’ve exercised our way around North Texas. We’ve gotten up before dawn, gone on weekend retreats, done boot camps, yoga, Pilates, walked in every walk there was and more. It’s been just about 15 years for me, and longer for some of the ladies.  We’ve lost and gained members, but we always continued.

As a group of friends we’ve been together through births, deaths, marriages, graduations, many different hair styles and colors and everything in between.  Three of us even completed the Austin Marathon.

As women of a certain age, we all know that exercise and proper nutrition are so important as we mature.  I know that we all will remember that ‘thisisyour(our)bestyear” as we find other avenues to continue on our journey to fitness at any age.

Looking and Feeling Good Takes Work

As women of a certain age we know about aging, but we also know that age is just a number.  Take a look at this link from More Magazine on anti-aging tips. 

http://www.more.com/best-anti-aging-tips

Let’s share some of our own anti-aging tips with each other.  We want our friends to look and feel good too–don’t we?  What are some of your anti-aging tips?

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.