If I could write a "wanted" ad for all of the healthy living items currently listed in my phone's notes, several big tickets items would top the list. But while a treadmill and workout bench are great investments, I find that oftentimes the smaller, inexpensive items that I use on a daily basis make the biggest difference in achieving my healthy living goals.
The idea that healthy living has to be expensive with organic foods, pricey pieces of equipment and personal trainers that cost an arm and a leg has long been exaggerated. In fact, many of our favorite health and fitness items fit right within any budget. Pair these 10 items—favorites of the SparkPeople staff—with some determination and heart and you'll be well on your way to being your very best self.
1. Microfiber Towel
Say "adios" to cramming regular-size bath towels into your gym bag and then trying to squeeze in toiletries and clothing (hello wrinkles!). These space-saving towels are great for the gym, camping, traveling, hiking or anywhere you need a quick dry after a shower or freshening up. The towels are super absorbent and treated with antibacterial agents to help them stay mold- and stink-free.
2. Handheld Juicer
Squeezing juice for your morning glass of lemon water just got easier thanks to this handheld juicer. The double-bowl design allows you to get every last drop of juice without seeds, pulp or rind. BPA-free and made of aluminum with an enamel coating, this tool resists stains and rust so you don't have to worry about food safety. In addition to lemon water, there are many healthy marinades you can make with citrus juices including this Chicken with Mesquite Lime Juice Marinade or Garlic Sauce and Marinade with Tangerine and Lemon Juice.
3. Anti-Chafe Stick
Not only does Surf Butta offer amazing anti-chafe protection and reduction of skin friction, it's also is water- and sweat-resistant, and, has the coolest name for one of the, um, lesser "fun" (but necessary) products for an active lifestyle. Apply this silky-smooth-feeling lubricant anywhere you need protection against chafing, rubbing, blisters, friction or skin irritation. Made in the USA, this company also donates $1 of every purchase to charity, so you can feel good inside and out with this purchase.
4. Bamboo Steamer
Make healthy dishes even healthier by steaming them in this versatile bamboo steamer. Whether you're cooking dumplings, meat, veggies or fish, you'll soon find this kitchen tool to be an everyday staple in your household. This 100 percent natural and environmentally friendly product allows you to cook up to two dishes at the same time with its two-tier design. Break in your new steamer with this tasty Steamed Asian Chicken, Kale and Carrots dish.
5. Tomato and Fruit Peeler
Make peeling everything from sweet potatoes, carrots and cucumbers to ginger and apples a breeze with this nifty tomato and fruit peeler. Perfect for softer produce, it decreases your peeling time with its stainless steel, serrated and wide blades. Ergonomically shaped, use the built-in spot cutter to remove blemishes or take the tops off tomatoes or strawberries. One reviewer says it also works to slice squash into pasta-size ribbons.
6. Resistance Bands
These go-anywhere resistance bands allow you to perform a variety of full-body exercises both at home and on the road. The five different colored bands range in resistance, from five to 25 pounds. Each band features cushioned handles and this kit also comes with one door anchor (for practicing your pullups), two ankle straps (think leg and glutes work), a training book with workout ideas and a handy carrying case for stowing it away when not in use.
7. Cupping Therapy Set
Don’t be put off by their Medieval look—these cups are great for relieving sore muscles; aid in decompressing and releasing scar tissue and adhesions; can relax muscle spasms and decrease inflammation. Simply squeeze the cups and apply to lubricated, affected areas to create suction, which allows for decompression of your muscles as the cups move over your problem areas. For best results, follow the manufacturer's directions.
8. Compression Sleeves
Lower leg pain got you down? Run, walk, train or enjoy any of your favorite activities in less pain with these calf compression sleeves. Wearing these sleeves when working out provides comfortable muscle compression for increased blood flow and limited swelling to the area. They also provide warmth to your legs during those winter workouts and are great for those with jobs that require being on your feet a lot or for those who travel often. They are front-and-back reversible, moisture wicking and fit a variety of leg sizes and heights.
9. Handheld Water Bottle
Not just for race days, this light, handheld water bottle is great for walking, running, hiking or any other activity where you need hydration without the hassle. The cap offers a quick release of fluid so you don't choke during your activity and the zippered pocket can hold smaller personal items while you're on the go. Plus, when cleaned as directed, the water remains free of that unpleasant plastic taste.
10. Running Belt
Secure your phone, keys, money, ID, credit cards and more with this stretchable, adjustable, waterproof waist belt. It's lightweight and non-restrictive, so whether you wear it during race day or while traveling, you'll know your valuables are safe, secure and by your side. The reflective belt adjusts for a variety of waist sizes so you can continue your activities comfortably without the worry of your belt bouncing all around.
What are your go-to, inexpensive healthy gadgets? Tell us in the comments!
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