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Everyday cheapskate: The high price of sitting down
EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE

Everyday cheapskate: The high price of sitting down

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LIFE FITNESS-STANDING-DESKS SL

Shelli Groshans, an advertising sales assistant, works at her standing desk at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Health care. It's on everyone's mind these days, and for good reason. Between the soaring cost of health insurance premiums, increasing co-pays, skyrocketing deductibles and the outrageous cost of some medications -- it's enough to give you a heart attack.

But lest you think there's nothing you can do to keep your family's health care costs under control, I have good news. You can control the spending. You have the power.

The best way to cut medical costs is to prevent them in the first place. I am talking about lifestyle, small changes to save you money and improve your quality of life.

How much money are we talking about? A recent study reveals that medical expenses are among the leading contributor to credit card debt, with low- to moderate-income households averaging $1,678 in credit card debt annually due to out-of-pocket medical expenses. Imagine how this number may grow as health care costs rise.

Have you had enough? Ready to cut your medical costs? Awesome. We'll do this together.

Stand up

Sitting on our bottoms -- at work, at school, at home, in a car, in a chair, on a sofa, in front of the television -- has been linked to all kind of health problems. In fact, according to a recent article from the Mayo Clinic, sitting too many hours in a day is costly because it contributes to high blood pressure, increased blood sugar, a higher risk of blood clots and (gasp!) sluggish bowels. Health professionals are beginning to equate sitting to smoking in terms of harm to overall health.

Make it easy

Identify a daily activity such as talking on the phone, texting or reading that you will no longer participate in while seated. Do these things while standing. I love to knit, and you guessed it: I now stand and knit. It's not bad. In fact, I'm quite enjoying this because I find I'm more alert and I make fewer mistakes.

Drink up

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Water. We already know this, right? Then why are up to 75% of Americans falling short of the daily amount recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture? Could it be that we're depending on pricey sodas, juices, vitamin water, coffee and tea for hydration? Water is much better for us, and it's practically free.

According to WebMD: 1) Water helps maintain the balance of body fluids; 2) Water helps control calorie intake; 3) Water helps energize muscles; 4) Water helps keep skin looking good; 5) Water keeps kidney's healthy and kidney stones at bay; 6) Water keeps the bowels functioning properly.

Make it easy: First, commit to water as your beverage of choice. Then invest in a great water bottle, like the one I have from Contigo. It's easy to use, helps me keep track of my daily intake and is just the right size to not misplace. It's made all the difference for me.

Sleep more

Sleep, we are learning, plays a huge role in good health. Sleep will curb inflammation -- now being linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging -- and improve your memory. Just imagine all of the money being spent these days on those particular health issues that may well be simply slept away.

Make it easy: Instead of (or in addition to) setting the alarm to wake up, set it to remind you to go to bed. Make it a nonnegotiable to get at least seven hours of sleep a night.

               

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