In some ways, the concrete jungle is not always the place where dreams are made. Pollution, unhealthy food choices, higher levels of stress: all of these factors can make the city life terrible for your health. And if you can’t or don’t want to move somewhere healthier, here’s how you can stay fit while in the big city:
1. Find a provider
Not having a primary care provider is mistake number one. In your 20s or early 30s, not having a primary provider might not seem like a big deal, but that cannot be farther from the truth. By having a primary healthcare provider, you can expect the following benefits:
- Earlier detection and better management of chronic diseases
- A more holistic approach to healthcare
- A higher level of comfort and trust
- Routine screenings and check-ups
- Better relationship with your doctor
- Reduced healthcare costs
2. Wear a mask
Masks should be worn not only when there is a global pandemic. For city dwellers, wearing a HEPA filter mask can limit your exposure to pollutants in the air. Moreover, wearing a mask is especially important if you walk or take public transportation to work. Apart from reducing your exposure to air pollutants, a mask can also protect you against airborne illnesses that might be present in public places.
3. Avoid the noise
Noise pollution can lead to many health problems, including stress, poor concentration, fatigue, and even cardiovascular disease. So if you live near a busy road, soundproof your apartment as much as you can. Alternatively, you can invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones or better yet, move somewhere far from noise.
4. Manage your stress
Due to the fast-paced life in the city, a lot of people living here are prone to higher stress levels. As a result, city dwellers have an increased risk for health problems, such as fatigue, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, sleep problems, depression, and anxiety, among many others. That said, learning to manage stress is one of the best ways to stay healthy while living in the city, and you can do that by:
- Letting go of the things that you have no control over
- Saying ‘no’ to commitments that you cannot handle
- Realizing when there is too much on your plate
- Asking for help when you need it
- Recognizing your feelings instead of brushing them off
- Taking the time to rest and relax
- Avoiding stressful situations as much as possible
5. Get enough rest
Easier said than done, we know, but sleep plays a significant factor in your physical and mental health. Without enough sleep, your body is more prone to illnesses, and you might not be at your best when you’re sleep-deprived. Moreover, a constant lack of sleep can lead to the early development of chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Stop procrastinating during the day so that you don’t have to stay up late finishing tasks. Say no to nights out when you haven’t been getting enough sleep lately. And whenever you can, sleep in during your days off.
6. Eat healthier
Eating healthy is not always easy in the big city, especially when not-so-healthy food choices surround you. Moreover, you might not have the time or energy to cook and thus resort to dinners at the taco truck down the street or greasy takeout. Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways you can eat healthier despite your hectic schedule:
- Meal prep during your days off; make simple meals that you can reheat throughout the week so you won’t have to eat out or order in
- Fill your pantry with healthy snacks e.g., fruits, nuts, popcorn, dried veggies, etc.
- Avoid convenience foods as much as possible, including fast food and instant food
- Explore your local farmer’s market for fresh and healthy food options
- When eating out with friends, be mindful of what you order and try to stick to healthier options
- Consult with a registered dietitian to find out what you should eat to attain your ideal body weight
Staying healthy in the big city is not easy, but not impossible. To combat the detrimental health effects of the concrete jungle lifestyle, take these health tips to heart, and continue to find more ways to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Do you have more city living tips to share? Please leave them in the comments below.