Whether you are for or against the recent Health Care Reform Bill, there are many things you can do to help control health care costs where they hit hardest -- in your own checkbook. Instead of letting Congress and the rest of the government decide what is best for you, take a few steps of your own to keep your own costs down.
1. Stay healthy. Sure there are things we cannot control. But there are many more things we can control. Obviously exercise is my main area of focus. Getting off your butt and moving does more to help maintain your health than most doctor visits. A few extra pounds taxes your heart, joints and muscles. Extra exertion can also raise blood pressure. Moving is the easiest way to keep weight in check.
2. Stay away from the drive through. Take the time to cook. Get the family involved. At our house, I make the salads, while my wife cooks. And my salads are not boring! Try new recipes. I recommend the Eating Clean series by Tosca Reno. She has some amazing recipes that taste great, and are good for you.
3. Play with your kids. This gets back to movement. But by adding play to the mix, you are staying involved with the family. Kids don't always need organized sports to keep them active. Playtime with mom and/or dad is often enough.
4. Join a fitness class. This is a great way to meet new people and stay active. Try boot camps, kettlebells, or other things new to you. Exercise doesn't have to be boring and painful to be effective.
5. Walk. Take a half-hour walk with your spouse. Reconnect. Step away from the TV and walk. The fresh air and the movement will do you and your waistline good. Remember, while you are walking, you are not snacking in front of the television.
6. Moderation. Like wine? Have a glass. Not a bottle. Like ice cream? Treat yourself occasionally. Don't deprive yourself, and that leads to resentment. Life is too short to give up the things we enjoy. But moderation goes a long way to keeping us healthier. And the longer we live, the longer we can enjoy the things we love.