Products that promote health and wellness can get pretty expensive. In fact, the wellness market is estimated to be worth about $4.2 trillion External Site. This market has grown significantly in the past few years, and it's only projected to continue. One of the biggest groups of people fueling that growth? The millennial generation.
Millennials love wellness, but many still aren't healthy
83 percent of millennials consider themselves to be in good or excellent health, but 1 in 3 have a health condition that affects their quality of life.
Source: Blue Cross Blue Shield Health of America report
While the millennial generation has generally been referred to as “wellness obsessed,” this obsession is not translating to good health for many. In fact, according to a recent Blue Cross® Blue Shield® Health of America Report® External Site, millennials are seeing a major decline in their health once they hit age 27, making them unhealthier than Generation X.
This trend is led largely by a higher prevalence in cardiovascular and endocrine conditions (i.e., diabetes and hypertension), as well as behavioral health conditions (i.e., major depression and substance abuse). On top of it all, many millennials are impacted by debt and stagnant salaries, so the hefty price tag that often accompanies health and wellness products and activities can be detrimental.
But, health and wellness doesn’t have to be a luxury. And, there are some trends and practices that actually work. Here are five back-to-basics tips you can try today.
Back-to-basics wellness tips
Get some activity every day
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends External Site American adults get at least 150 minutes of activity per week. Think of the types of activity you can fit into your everyday life. Take a midday walk around your neighborhood. Dance in the kitchen with your kids. Do some squats while you’re watching television. These types of activities are inexpensive and can make a big difference when you add up the time doing them.
Up your fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables are credited with helping you maintain a healthy body weight, control your blood sugar, plus reduce your LDL ("bad") cholesterol and other benefits.It’s possible to eat more fruits and vegetables without blowing your grocery budget. Consider in-season fruits, like citrus during the winter and peaches in the summer. If you’re worried about produce going bad, stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables when they’re on sale. Frozen produce still has great nutrients and can be prepared much like their fresh counterparts.
Get more sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t repair itself. Ongoing sleep deficiency External Site can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Prioritize your rest time and rearrange your schedule to make time for sleep, and implement simple changes like limiting screen time, to make falling asleep easier.
Prioritize your mental health
Identify areas of your life that are causing you stress, and make changes to help limit that stress. Maybe your work-life balance is out of whack. Or, you have too many commitments. No matter what's causing you anxiety and stress, it's important to remember that there's no shame in taking a mental health day and asking for help.
Bonus tip! Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield members can get mental health help without even leaving their home through Doctor On Demand® External Site. A virtual doctor can get the conversation about your mental health started and help you determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs. A virtual visit through Doctor On Demand is a covered benefit by many Wellmark health insurance plans. Just be sure to log in or register for myWellmark® Opens New Window to check your benefits before receiving care.
Ditch sugary drinks and opt for water instead
Drinking water each day helps to regulate body temperature and keeps joints moving easily and organs functioning properly. While your total hydration needs don't have to be met with water alone (think hydrating fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumber), it's best to limit fruit juices and soft drinks. While they may be hydrating, they're also high in sugar and calories.
Don't forget about the free resources available to you
You might be surprised to find out about the dozens of health and wellness resources available to you at no cost. For example, ditch the at-home workout app that comes with a monthly fee and get some free workout inspiration from the fitness archives of Blue. Or, if you’re a Wellmark member, sign up for Blue365® External Site to keep an eye out for deals and discounts on health and wellness products.
Wellmark members can also register or log in to myWellmark to find relevant educational articles, healthy how-to's, tips, tools and much more.
Improve your health with simple changes
While those fancy workout clothes or the latest diet trend may seem appealing, making changes to your health doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag. Instead, some common sense, basic changes can go a long way in preventing chronic disease and supporting an overall healthier life.