Living in a big, busy and hectic city – usually densely populated – might make life more fascinating and exciting, but it can also be exhausting compared to the calmness of the countryside. Battling through crowds every day, forcing your way through public transports during the rush hour commute, enjoying a ‘leisurely’ Sunday morning in the local high street along with everyone else who doesn’t work on weekends… Sometimes it can all be a bit overwhelming, and when you’re overwhelmed it is much harder to stay healthy.
Luckily there are also many things in a big city that can actually make it easier to stay fit, they just take a bit of time and energy to get right. Here are our top tips on how to stay healthy when you live in an urban area – from defeating the causes of high cholesterol to eating well whatever the city throws in your way.
Integrate exercise into your commute
One of the causes of high cholesterol levels and general ill-health is lack of exercise. City people are actually more likely to be somewhat active because most people don’t drive so your day involves at least a little bit of walking to the public transport. However, to really promote long-term health it’s important to do a proper workout at least a few times each week.
The NHS recommends getting at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each week (essentially anything that gets you out of breath), plus strength exercises that work your major muscles every other day. In urban areas, where almost everyone is doing some sort of commute, it’s relatively easy to integrate this into your day. Why not try running to work in the mornings? This may seem tough but start by just walking fast and work up from there. If it’s too far to run entirely, go halfway and then get the bus.
Spend time in green spaces
Doing a bit of exercise during the commute isn’t everyone’s thing, but it’s still important to stay active and avoid the causes of high cholesterol – (find out what causes high cholesterol). But, as mentioned above, one important factor is how much you move your body. Instead of doing it on your way to work you could try exercising in some of your city’s parks or green spaces. Go running, do circuits, join an exercise class or try one of the many outdoor gyms – there are surely lots of opportunities!
Make a weekly meal plan
Staying healthy is of course also about eating well and this can be tricky in a big city. When you’re busy working and socialising it’s all too easy to grab a fatty sandwich from your nearest coffee shop and then indulge in a tasty doughnut from a street vendor nearby. Instead, why not try making a meal plan for your week ahead. This is really helpful in working out what you’re going to have, how healthy it is, making sure it hits up all the major food groups (including your five-a-day veg target) and importantly how much it’s all going to cost. Food can be pretty expensive in the city so do your body and your wallet a favour and plan in advance.
While it can sometimes feel tough to be healthy, big cities usually also offer wellbeing opportunities. You usually have different options of gyms and outdoor fitness classes available, healthy food choices available in organic food shops and tasty salad bars. With a bit of effort and planning, you can live a wholesome and healthy urban life! Just do a bit of research and get to know the healthy side of your city better.