Boosting Your Healthy Lifespan without Breaking the Bank
Read the legacy press and you’d believe that a longer, healthier life was exclusively for the super-rich.
They all miss a vital point.
Almost everything you need to do to boost your health span starts for free. Switching to healthy food will not increase your grocery budget. Better sleep, simple exercises and avoiding toxins need not cost a penny either.
Even those longevity interventions that do have a price tag often won’t break the bank. The most expensive niche supplements that biohackers are trying to sell you have natural, lower priced alternatives. Simple diet changes will reduce the need for many over the counter supplements.
This page is for anyone that wants to live longer without the expense. Below you will find free and low-cost interventions, so you can enjoy longevity on a budget.
Longevity on a Budget: Free Interventions You Can Start Right Now
80% of healthy longevity is about your habits in these four broad areas:
- Sleep Quality / Duration
- Exercise and Movement
- Food and Nutrition
- Exposure to Toxins / Stressors
Optimising each area starts at zero cost. As you accumulate healthy habits, you’ll start to feel great – boosting your motivation to add even more of them.
Free longevity interventions for each of these four categories are covered below. After that, you’ll some additional budget health tips which cover multiple categories.
I’m saving £/$50 and under health boosters for a separate article – so don’t forget to bookmark the Age Well Times today.
Optimise Your Sleep: The Bedrock Longevity Habit
Without healthy sleep, it is exponentially more difficult to sustain habits around food, exercise, and stress / toxin avoidance.
Optimising sleep should be everyone’s first task on the road to longevity.
Fortunately, boosting the quality of your sleep starts with important free interventions. You’ll find more on these in my detailed book review of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
- Get Outside in the Morning: Great sleep at night starts with optimising your circadian rhythm – just 10 minutes outside (as early as you can comfortably make it) will set you up for a rejuvenating night.
- Avoid Screens Before Bed: Blue light reduces melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep. Switch off the TV, tablets, and your phone an hour before bed. You can even dim the lights – or wear blue light blocking glasses.
- Set a Routine: Going to sleep at the same time each night and waking up at the same time (giving yourself 8 hours of sleep in between) will pay dividends for your days.
- Caffeine and Alcohol: Even a small amount of alcohol decimates sleep quality. Caffeine sensitivity varies, though a great rule of thumb is to avoid it after lunchtime.
- Exercise and Eating: Avoid both in the hours before bed, to boost your sleep quality.
If you have money to spend on optimising sleep, I’d recommend blackout curtains.
A bonus tip that worked wonders for me is to avoid drinking liquids at least 2 hours before bed. This reduced the number of night visits to the bathroom – boosting my sleep duration and quality.
Longevity on a Budget: Exercise and Movement
You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to get serious longevity benefits.
In fact, a simple morning walk is the perfect starting point.
As I set out in my Minimum Viable Exercise for Longevity post, there are serious health benefits for a far lower effort than most people believe. Optimal exercise mixes gentle cardio (walking, cycling), intensive cardio (sprints, rowing) and muscle resistance training (push-ups, weights, yoga).
My routine includes exercise snacks, these are small daily habits that add a little more movement to each day.
Here is how to get some extra exercise for healthy aging on a budget:
- Exercise Snacks: I do 30 push-ups and a 1-minute plank before my morning shower, and add a morning walk daily. You might choose taking the stairs, squats while waiting for the kettle to boil or any number of easy to slot in activities.
- Embrace Your Body’s Own Weight: No need to be a ripped bodybuilder to get the rejuvenating effect of muscle resistance training. Adding squats, push-ups, dips and more to your weekly routine is low-cost and effective.
- Walk, Jog or Run: The car does not need to be a default, make room for regular walks. For the small price of a pair of running shoes, adding runs (or jogs if you prefer) is great for your cardio vascular system.
Adding a small budget unlocks super-effective fitness equipment too. Examples include resistance bands, kettlebells, or even a skipping rope.
Healthy Longevity at Low Cost: Food and Nutrition Habits
You’ll find plenty of low hanging fruit* when it comes to food and longevity on a budget.
*I’ll get my coat…
The mainstream press loves the ‘too poor to eat healthy’ angle – for me this is a stretch for at least 90% of people (naturally, I sympathise with those genuinely affected). The reason I believe it is misinformation is that healthy eating does not need to cost any more than eating fast-food.
Free ways to boost your healthy lifespan include regular hydration, intermittent fasting and even the order of eating what is already on your plate.
Add simple switches from carb-heavy meals to those with extra greens, avoiding seed oils and sugary snacks – and you are already on the path to a healthier future.
Here are my simple tips for optimising your eating with low or zero cost:
- Eat Within an 8 Hour Window: Fasting promotes cellular regeneration via a process called autophagy. Waiting until 12pm for your first meal, and not eating after 8pm gets you significant health benefits. It also helps remove temptations to eat sleep-disrupting late-night snacks.
- Stay Hydrated: I have 2 large glasses of water each morning, and stay hydrated through the day with water and fruit tea. This stops hunger and helps avoid temptation to drink toxic fruit juices and soda.
- Order of Food on Your Plate: A simple hack to avoid blood sugar spikes (and longer-term insulin resistance) is to start with the greens and protein on your plate. Eat the carbs like pasta, potatoes, and rice last.
Aside from these free ideas to use food for your health, adding just a little money can boost you even further.
Switching seed oils (sunflower, rapeseed, corn) for cooking with olive oil is inexpensive. Switching the balance of food on your plate away from simple carbs to more vegetables does not break the bank.
For more lower priced ideas on optimising your healthy nutrition, see my longevity and nutrition section here at the Age Well Times.
Low-Cost Longevity: Toxins and Stress (the Silent Killers)
I won’t sugar-coat it.
If you are a smoker and reading this, please ignore all the other tips and ideas – and find a way to quit. It’s not hard, millions of people have done it already. It is not ‘harder than heroin’ to quit, that’s a statistical quirk based on the percentage of smokers that go back to slowly killing themselves.
Ok, rant over.
Of course, smoking is only one way to willingly consume toxins that dramatically shorten life.
When it comes to low budget ways to live a longer and healthier life – quitting bad habits is a huge plus to your balance sheet.
Here are some toxins to avoid:
- Alcohol: My Achilles’ heel is red wine. It makes life so much more wonderful. Understanding that alcohol is toxic, with no health benefits and multiple drawbacks (not least for sleep quality) is your starting point. Enjoy it in moderation with that in mind.
- Sugar: Not just the obvious sugar. Bread, potatoes, pasta, and rice all break down into glucose – essentially simple carbs are sugar. It’s not just the insulin resistance and weight gain that will shorten your life, sugar plays havoc with protein molecules throughout your body, it is toxic in every sense of the word.
- Seed Oils: It is hard to avoid all industrial seed oils. They find their way into our sauces, baked foods and are used by restaurants for cooking. Reducing these toxins starts at home, and with awareness that balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 is important for long-term health.
Psychological stress is damaging to longer-term health outcomes. This is a big topic, with the sources of stress often personal and challenging. Awareness of free stress reduction techniques like breathwork, mindfulness, meditation, journalling and gratitude should be part of everyone’s arsenal of health habits.
Even More Ways to Live a Long and Healthy Life on a Budget
Getting the bedrock longevity habits right gives you amazing healthy aging benefits.
This is the beginning of your journey – not the end.
Here are the next steps for giving you that extra energy and drive now, so you can stay healthy and active for years to come.
- Tests and Checks: Regular medicals are ideal, if you don’t have access then make sure you speak with your doctor about any worrying symptoms – however small.
- Cold Showers: Embrace hormetic stress for long-term benefits. I ‘enjoy’ a cold shower after exercise, start with 30 seconds and build from there.
- Friendships and Socialising: Study after study is showing that healthy relationships and social connectedness are critical for longer-term health outcomes. Go on, pick up the phone or join that group you’ve been thinking about…
Head back soon for longevity interventions for £ / $50 and under.
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