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15 Healthy Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

Run an International Race

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If you’ve ever dreamed of racing through the streets of Cape Town or sprinting up the steps of the Great Wall of China, what better time than post-tax season to splurge on the fees for that international marathon you’ve always wanted to run? Bonus points if you head to Antarctica for the continent's annual marathon, but we won't blame you for booking London or Paris either. (Get inspired to go global with the 10 Best Marathons to Travel the World.)

Photo: Corbis Images

Choose a Standing Desk

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You’ve read all the articles—sitting is killing you! OK, maybe not for sure, but now that you’ve got some extra cash in hand, it’s the perfect time to try a standing desk on for size. Though there are plenty of options available on the market, standing desks are still big-ticket purchases. Make sure you do some research and check out the 5 Standing Desks we tested before you pull the trigger.

Photo: Corbis Images

Visit Wine Country

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A vineyard getaway doesn't exactly conjure up an idyllic iamge of health, which is why we love the rising popularity of wine country destinations with more emphasis on hiking, biking, and nature walks than "pass the rosé, please." After a day spent cycling through the rolling wheat fields of Walla Walla, Washington, or hiking the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, that glass of wine (like that tax refund!) will be well-deserved. (Start your search with these Breathtaking Wine Country Destinations for Fit Travel.)

Photo: Girasol Vineyard & Inn

Buy a Blender

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A good blender is a healthy foodie's ultimate kitchen staple. If you already have one, consider treating your tax-paying self to a fancier model that blends smoothies, soups, and sauces to the creamiest of consistenies. (Don't want to clear your whole check with an appliance? Do your research and check out The Best Blenders For Any Budget.)

Photo: Corbis

Break Out of Your Cooking Rut

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Cooking apps and meal-delivery services like Sakara Life and Blue Apron are genius ideas, but the costs can add up if you use them regularly. If you've been feeling less than enthused about cooking healthy meals lately, use a small part of your tax refund to try out a service that will help put the fun back in creating homemade dinners. And think of the money you'll save on future takeout orders! (See The Best Cooking Apps and Food Services to Make Healthy Meals a Breeze for our favorite options.)

Photo: Blue Apron

Upgrade Your Home Gym

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Even if your "home gym" is really just a spare corner in your living room, invest in a piece of gear (big or small!) to spruce it up a bit. Whether it's the Pilates reformer you've always wanted, or just that cool printed yoga mat you've been lusting after, treat yourself for making healthy choices at home.

Photo: Corbis Images

Get Your Trainer Certification

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Yoga teacher and personal trainer certifications don't always come cheap, so if you've been toying with the idea of becoming a licensed expert in your workout of choice, putting your tax refund towards your creds is a smart move. Plus, you may be able to turn your training into a profitable side gig after putting in your time as a student. A worthwhile investment, if you ask us!

Photo: Corbis Images

Switch Up Your Sneakers

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If you plan to stash away the bulk of your refund for a rainy day, consider putting a small chunk of change towards a new pair of sneaks. After all, if you’re working out in your shoes multiple times a week, you (and your feet!) could surely benefit from a comfy new pair. (Check out The Best Sneakers to Crush Your Workout Routines.)

Photo: Corbis

Chill Out on a Cruise

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While cruise ships aren’t traditionally known as healthy travel havens, plenty of cruise lines have stepped up their offerings for health-conscious passengers. Our favorite option? The ultra-luxe Seabourn line, which hosts a Marina Day complete with paddleboarding, kayaking, and water-skiing. (Before you set sail, read up on 5 Ways to Stay Fit on a Cruise Ship.)

Photo: Seabourn

Open a Flex Spending Account

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It's no trip to wine country or luxurious cruise, but opening up a Flexible Spending Account (if you're able to through your employer), is one of the smartest financial moves you can make for your health. With the option of stashing up to $2,500 in pre-tax dollars in a special account just for healthcare, you could be saving yourself some serious cash (especially if you wear contacts or glasses, or have monthly prescriptions.)

Photo: Corbis Images

Sign Up For a Fitness Booking Service

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Instead of rejoining your gym, consider a fitness booking service like ClassPass or FitReserve. You may pay a bit more each month, but you'll reap the benefits of trying any type of workout class you want, instead of being limited to one or two studios! (Before joining, make sure you heed the Proper Sweatiquette for ClassPass and Fitness Booking Services.)

Photo: Corbis Images

Sign Up For Studio Sessions

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On the other hand, if you're already participating in a class-booking service, buy a separate set of sessions from one of your favorite studios. You'll be doing yourself (and the studio!) a real favor—they'll appreciate your business and customer loyalty, and you'll reap the mental and physical benefits of more sessions of your favorite workout. 

Photo: Corbis Images

Buy a Bicycle

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If you've always wanted to try your hand at biking recreationally, now is the perfect time to do it (when you've got a little extra cash in your pocket!). Cruisers, for example, aren't heavy-duty road or sports bikes, but they'll get you out and moving—and that's the whole point, right?

Photo: Corbis Images

Splurge on Surfing Camp

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You know that crazy adventure workout or relaxing wellness retreat you've been dying to try but haven't had the extra money make happen? While you're flush, go ahead and pull the trigger on that surfing camp or yoga getaway. Better yet, go with a group and bond with your girlfriends at one of 9 Women-Only Fitness Retreats.

Photo: Pura Vida Adventures

Grab a Better Gym Bag

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If you're still toting a battered duffel with your college logo on it to the gym, it might be time to shell out for a sleeker upgrade that will keep you organized (and sane!) when prepping and packing for workouts. With tons of options from activewear brands like Lululemon and Sweaty Betty, there's no excuse not to schlep your stuff in style. (Start your shopping with 15 Gym Bags for the Sweaty But Stylish.) 

Photo: Corbis Images

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