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The Cost of Staying Fit and Healthy

fitness-332278_640Everybody wants to stay fit and healthy, the better to enjoy life to the full. From the time of your birth, there are environmental issues and lifestyle choices that impact on your physical and mental development. During infancy and childhood, many of these influences are entirely outside your control. However, as you grow through adolescence and into adulthood, you are in an increasingly powerful position when it comes to making decisions that affect your health and fitness levels. This responsibility comes with a price tag, however, so when the finances kick in, you have some pretty important options to consider if you are to achieve the degree of wellness you want without breaking the bank. 

Sporting options 

If you were a naturally sporty type during adolescence, you might well carry this over into adulthood and enjoy regular physical activity through your favorite sports or exercises. You may be surprised at the size of the amateur sports market in the US in terms of the number of regular participants. Here are a few examples as of May 2015:

  • Basketball: 40 million
  • Bowling: 55 million
  • General fitness activities (using gyms, etc.): 35 million
  • Golf: 30 million
  • Skateboarding: 12.5 million
  • Skating: 26 million
  • Soccer: 18 million

While participation in baseball is said to be on the decline, the number of people who went swimming regularly in the US increased from 76.78 million in 2008 to 80.89 million in 2015.

The total value of the exercise market is estimated to be in the region of $50.5 billion dollars, with tremendous levels of growth predicted for mature adults aged 55 years and over, as seniors nowadays pay considerable attention to maintaining their quality of life.

Exercise options

If you don’t regard yourself as a ‘natural athlete’ but are keen to improve your personal fitness levels, it can be tricky to know where to start. There’s an important debate to be had about whether investing in a gym membership, for example, really gives you more bang for your buck. It is estimated that 15 percent of Americans have monthly gym memberships and spend about $55 every month to fund them, which is quite a commitment. On the plus side, you have the added benefits of qualified trainers and expert advice, particularly useful if you are relatively new to an exercise regime, need to pace yourself or take specific steps to avoid injury.

Exercise self help is also increasingly popular as sales of home fitness equipment thrive, with an estimated market value expected to reach $11.9 billion by 2020. In this technological age, people are also investing in personal devices and apps to monitor critical signs such as heart rate, food intake and exercise levels. It’s estimated that by 2017, almost one third of Americans will be utilizing technology to monitor their health.

One important benefit of taking charge of your own health and fitness is that you can take professional advice and adapt it to suit your personal requirements, even if you’re on a budget. For example, walking is known to be one of the best forms of exercise, and you don’t need a fancy treadmill or designer sports wear to walk or run each day. Some of the most useful apparel you will find looks as good as designer clothing, whether you go to the gym, use home sports equipment or just enjoy getting out and about.

So, invest in a good pair of trainers or suitable walking shoes and ensure you have quality support clothing for any joints that might need extra help. Compression wear is a great value option, and you should make sure you check out the details relevant to your needs from a qualified retailer. For example, compression shorts provide support for a range of muscles and joints, relieving aches and pains during and after exercise.

Nutrition options

Finally, there’s very little point in taking the trouble to exercise if you’re not also paying attention to your food intake. Much has been made of the high cost of fresh fruit and vegetables, known to be best for your body in nutritional terms. However, you can source some quality items at low cost less than one dollar per serving if you’re clever about your shopping habits. Among the most affordable fresh options are kale, cabbage, oranges, apples, carrots and eggs. Supplement these with almonds, lentils, oats, tuna, peanut butter, green as well as black tea and you’ll be doing your (now extremely healthy) body a favor.

Staying fit and healthy is crucial to living a happy, full life, and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Keeping on top of your fitness can be as simple as jogging around the neighborhood in a solid pair of trainers, or aided with the latest technology and workout equipment. As long as you commit to an exercise routine that works with your lifestyle, you’re already on the right track.

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James

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