Limited Income: What would you do with an additional 13 or 14 years of your life?
Baby-sit your grandchildren? Enjoy retirement? According to the Brookings Institute that’s how much longer on average wealthier Americans are living than those with a limited income. Researchers say the gap has widened immensely since 2001 when it was about four to six years between those with limited income and those wealthier.
Experts cannot point to a main cause and mostly like there are many reasons including access to health care, drug/alcohol abuse and smoking, issues that affect limited income and less educated populations more.
As you probably have heard, obesity rates in America have been sharply increasing since the 1980’s. Although the National Academy of Sciences finds obesity rates between rich and poor not that wide, I can’t help but think money or lack of it is a major contributor to staying healthy and living longer.
Living healthy with a Limited Income isn’t easy.
My family is doing better than most and it hurts my wallet every time I go to Whole Foods seeking organic and less processed food. In an effort to improve my own health I recently decided to take sugar out of my diet. Finding foods without added sugar has been very challenging but less so at the higher priced grocery stores. If I were living paycheck to paycheck I couldn’t imagine shopping there often.
The same is true for gym memberships and personal trainers. These are great things that people with extra money can afford to help them reach their optimal weight and keep their heart strong.
Stress is a contributor to poor health. Yoga and meditation are great stress relievers. But if you’re working two jobs or you’re a single parent good luck finding the time and space to try these things.
Do you NEED these things to be healthy? No.
But they are great tools to reach optimum health thus extend your life expectancy. If you have a limited income and can’t afford to shop every day at the organic grocer or have an exercise consultant below are some thrifty ideas to help you stay strong and robust into a ripe old age.
Get some exercise at a YMCA. Most cities and many communities have them and they offer lower membership rates on a sliding income scale. There you can use exercise machines, take group fitness classes and most have swimming pools. If you can stretch a buck personal trainers are available at a much lower rate than the premium gyms. Plus often there are workshops and classes offered regarding nutrition and healthy living. I’ve worked at various YMCA Clubs and found them to have a great community of people. If you don’t live near a Y perhaps you have a community center or college nearby.
Put it on your schedule and invite a friend to make the commitment with you. Or look for a walking or running group. Go to www.Meetup.com to find one near you.
Need some stress relief?
- The library has a plethora of books on how to meditate or relieve stress.
- You can also find DVD’s on meditation and yoga.
- Another idea is to find a yoga-training program and see if new instructors might be offering sessions to help them practice their craft.
- If you don’t have a computer you can also use the library computer to access FREE programs like Opera & Deepak Chopra’s upcoming 21-day meditation called “Shedding the Weight Mind, Body & Spirit”. See the link below.
To eat healthier do your grocery shopping at a farmers market or cooperative grocery store called co-ops. Look in your local paper for farmers markets with fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables among other unprocessed food and items.
While they tend to exist more in warm weather seasons, a co-op is open year round. It also has cheaper fresh vegetables, fruits and wholesome foods and runs like a store. But it is owned, operated and funded by its members and dues. If you cannot afford membership fees you have the option to pay by working a few hours a week.
Wealthier people will always have access to the best and easier life style. But if you have a seeking spirit and want to live a longer healthier life too there are ways. Be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning or changing any exercise routine.
Think of your future self who will thank you. Share any tips or ideas you have on living healthy on a limited income in the comment box below.
- Oprah & Deepak Meditation: https://chopracentermeditation.com/home/
- Find a Cooperative Grocery Store: http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm
- New York Times Disparity in Life Span: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/13/health/disparity-in-life-spans-of-the-rich-and-the-poor-is-growing.html?_r=1