12 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Will Also Save You Money (AARP)

Posted: Dec 13, 2022 in In the News

This article originatly appeared in AARP on 12/13/2022.

12 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Will Also Save You Money

Here's to physical, mental and financial health in 2023

By Kim Painter, AARP

It’s time to think about New Year’s resolutions. More than 4 in 10 U.S. adults make at least one, surveys say. Health resolutions are popular. So are resolutions about saving money. That might be especially true this year, due to inflation and an uncertain economy.


What if you combined your desire to get healthier with your determination to stretch your dollars in 2023? You might try some of these ideas:

Resolution #1: Walk more, drive less


If you are lucky enough to live within walking distance of your favorite stores and gathering places, resolve to walk to them more often. You’ll save money on gas and reap the health benefits of walking. Those include lower risks of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, stronger muscles and bones, easier weight maintenance and a better mood, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Not sure you are up to walking through your errands? Start with shorter jaunts: Research suggests every minute matters. If you need some help getting going, in some communities you can find walks led by health professionals, through the Walk With a Doc program (AARP is a sponsor).  

Resolution #2: Lower your thermostat for better sleep


You can take a bite out of your winter heating bills and sleep better by setting your nighttime temperature lower than most people do, research suggests. The Sleep Foundation suggests a range of 60 to 67 degrees, with a sweet spot around 65 degrees.


But Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist, says that range is too low for many people, including those who sleep nude or with minimal bedding. Also, he says, we tend to feel colder with age, because we lose fat directly beneath our skin, which acts “like a long underwear layer of insulation.”

The best idea, he says, is to experiment with lower temps. If you are younger than 65, he suggests trying 65 degrees to start; people over 65 might start at 70 degrees, he says.

Resolution #3: Drink more water, from fewer bottles


Water is the perfect health drink. But bottled water is much more expensive than tap water, with no health advantages in places where tap water is safe, as it is in most of the United States. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, are worried about its quality or like fizziness or added flavor, there are simple, inexpensive solutions.

First, you can put a filter on your faucet or under your sink or use a filtered pitcher to remove chlorine, lead and other substances that might affect taste or safety. A pitcher, for less than $40, is the most affordable option, according to Consumer Reports.


For fizzy water, get a soda-making kit, starting for less than $60. Though you can buy flavor packs for soda makers, you can more cheaply add your own fruit juice, herbs or other mixers.

Resolution #4: Rediscover the library


Reading is good for your brain: Studies suggest it can slow memory decline and, if you read fiction, increase your sense of empathy. But buying books and magazines can get expensive.


Luckily, in most U.S. towns and cities, there’s a place where the books are free and plentiful: the library. If you haven’t been to one lately, give it a try, in person or online. The library is a great source of printed books (including large-print versions), and you can also borrow electronic and audiobooks.

Resolution #5: Cook with less meat and more beans


“Extend meat dishes by replacing a portion of the meat with canned beans, like black beans, kidney beans or pinto beans,” suggests Christine Rosenbloom, a registered dietitian nutritionist who is the coauthor of Food & Fitness After 50 and a nutrition professor emerita at Georgia State University.

Beans are cheaper protein than meat, and they are full of fiber and other nutrients, Rosenbloom says. To cut the sodium in canned beans, she says, rinse them before use.


Resolution #6: Find free or low-cost exercise classes

In part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, online choices have exploded, and some are free or low-cost, says Cedric Bryant, president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise. For example, at Fitness Blender, you can find hundreds of cardio, strength, yoga and other workouts for free (with advertisements). Other sites offer free trials. The best sites, Bryant says, offer classes at varying fitness levels and let you adjust the level if you find a class too hard or too easy.

In-person classes at community recreation centers can also be a bargain, Bryant says. Some people 65 or older qualify for free online and in-person classes through their Medicare Advantage plans. Some insurance companies give discounts on gym memberships, so check with yours. 


Want to try some online classes? AARP’s Staying Fit section has a selection of on-demand exercise videos. Senior Planet from AARP has free online fitness and wellness sessions on weekdays and AARP's Virtual Community Center also has live exercise and wellness classes. 


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