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Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to hurt your budget

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle seems to have a reputation of being so expensive that only wealthy people can truly manage it. I am here to say that that reputation is wrong.

Anyone can live healthy — on any budget.

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Healthy living does not exactly include the convenience of the McDonald's dollar menu, but it also does not cost an arm and a leg like most people think.

I am not going to lie — fancy organic food can be expensive; however, fresh fruits and vegetables are relatively inexpensive, easy on the taste buds, and are quintessential of eating healthy. Eating healthy can be simple and cost effective. Local grocery stores carry all sorts of proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other delicious, healthy foods that will not put a huge dent in your wallet.

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Local produce stands, such as Foxleigh Farms Produce, in Owings Mills, sell a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. There is nothing like fresh watermelon with lunch or fresh asparagus with dinner. Besides, supporting local businesses like the one I mentioned makes me feel good, which only benefits my healthy lifestyle.

Healthy food does not have to be fancy or expensive. Eating healthy should not be a chore and should not break the bank. I love eating healthy — it makes me feel good mentally and physically, and, in my opinion, tastes better than unhealthy alternatives. I would take a bag of carrots over a bag of chips any day.

In some cases — yogurt, for example — the healthier choice might be slightly more expensive than the not-so-healthy choice, but the benefits still outweigh the costs. A serious money-saving tip is to make a list before going to the produce stand or grocery store, and stick to that list.

Another useful tip is that when purchasing fruits and vegetables, keep in mind that fresh fruits and veggies tend to go bad quickly, so only purchase what will definitely be consumed before the food can go bad.

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Maintaining a healthy diet and remaining physically healthy trumps the possibility of diabetes or heart disease and the physical and monetary costs of those health issues.

Basically, it's worth it, especially in the long run.

Some gym memberships can be extremely costly, especially large chain ones that include a variety of extra benefits. Anyone can maintain a simple, healthy lifestyle by just working out in their living room. It's free, requires no traveling, and is convenient and easy.

Simple bodyweight workouts are great for anyone at any skill level. People can also purchase weights, yoga mats, resistance bands and other equipment for just a few bucks each to further enhance a home workout.

Some home workouts can make even the most fit people work up a sweat and feel the burn, all while spending little to no money.

Staying physically active does not have to cost a fortune. Anyone can change it up by choosing to go for an outdoor run or hike, rather than working out at home. When the weather is warmer, I like to take trips to Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area, in Owings Mills, for a trail run.

This is an amazing, fun workout, and I highly recommend it to any runner who wants to step it up a notch. Staying active and putting muscles to work is free.

I am a typical broke college student, so if I can do it, anyone can do it. I opt for fresh fruits and veggies over fast food and outdoor runs and workouts over a gym membership. Eating healthy and staying physically active should never compromise anyone's budget.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is possible for anyone who can put their mind and dedication to it.

Eating healthy and staying physically active at any age is worth it in the long run.

Amanda Oppenheim is a junior at Stevenson University and can be reached at amandaoppenheim15@gmail.com.

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