There are times when it seems like you barely have a minute to take a breath, let alone a brisk walk. The struggle to maintain your health is real. On top of that, economic troubles make it nearly impossible to buy an apple to keep the doctor away. Despite the depressing news, you can invest in your health without going broke. Here are some ways to save your health and your money.

Get more exercise through walking

The best and least expensive exercise, walking, can keep you healthy when done regularly. If you can’t afford a gym membership, this is all the better. A physically active lifestyle where you walk to appointments, to a friend’s house, or to the store can head off major health problems. Walking utilizes the large muscles in your body and keeps the heart working and it can lead to weight loss. When you maintain your health now, you’ll also save money in the future.

Splash into savings

Swimming is the fourth most popular recreational activity in the United States. You can get a healthy workout in a pool. Swimming is a joint-supporting, low-impact exercise that’s great for all ages. One way to get into a pool is to buy a community pool membership or attend with a friend as a guest. Maybe it’s worth spending a little extra to get a pool installed in your home to save on medical bills later.

Buy local

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) ensures that your food is local, fresh, and kinder to the environment. Big-box supermarkets obtain produce from different countries. The further the food travels, the more energy is needed to transport it. Not all countries have the same environmental protections or criteria as the United States, so these environmental impacts can add up fast.

In addition, local, seasonal produce has been shown to retain more nutrients because it can ripen naturally. Aim for five servings of vegetables per day. A healthy diet is one that’s low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals. This will help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and cancer. A disease-free lifestyle helps reduce your medical bills.

Care for your mental health

Mental health is often forgotten. Your health isn’t just about exercise and diet. Suicide rates are high in the U.S., in part, because people don’t have access to mental health services. The inability to process daily stressors of home and work life can lead to physical symptoms, too. These include such ailments as insomnia, backaches, headaches, and appetite loss. Untreated high levels of stress can also lead to more serious conditions like depression and addiction as a coping mechanism. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones, like cortisol, can also increase your blood pressure and cause serious damage to your heart.

Manage your health by learning relaxation techniques to keep your stress levels low. And stay social. Humans don’t handle isolation well. Walk with a friend or zoom with relatives on a regular basis. Finding natural, affordable ways to better your mental health can make a huge difference in your mental well-being.

Don’t forget the kids

Kids want healthy lives too. As a parent, you provide everything for them: this includes wellness visits, vaccinations, and any ER visits or sicknesses. The best thing you can do is look for pediatricians with wisdom and common sense. Many states offer low-cost insurance coverage for your child’s wellness visits if you’re strapped for cash. If your child needs a retainer or braces, you should also look into dental insurance coverage. Today, some four million Americans are wearing braces, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. This is when you need to choose Insurance options carefully. An investment in your health is always a wise expense. Becoming proactive in preventing many diseases and conditions will help cover the costs that you and your family cash you can ill afford.

What about the gym?

Being fit and healthy will save you money, but is a gym membership a cost-effective way to get and stay healthy? Around 68 million Americans have poor credit, so putting it on the card might not be a good idea. Instead, look for other, more affordable options. Some gyms have a “pay-as-you-go” plans or offer special deals in January when most people are making good on their New Years Resolutions. Many gyms have better quality equipment than any you could buy for your own home gym. Take a pragmatic approach and ask the gym owner if the gym has a pool, or whirlpool. If you’re going to regularly use equipment that you don’t have at home, this could be a great investment in your health. Inspect the gym to see the weight rooms, exercise class spaces, and shower facilities. Find out if your insurance or workplace offers discounts on gym memberships, too.

How’s your sleep hygiene?

If you’re an adult, you’re going to need at least seven hours of sleep and kids need even more. People who sleep poorly are at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity. Memory and brain function are also negatively affected when you don’t get enough sleep. Who knew you can sleep to stay healthy and save money?