Stay healthy in the city in 7 easy steps
Our post about the best places to run in London has hopefully fired up your motivation to get your running shoes on and head out for a jog, but if you're looking for other tips on how to stay healthy when you live in a big city, we won't disappoint you!
Living in a busy, crowded city can often make you feel more tired than living somewhere more peaceful; sometimes it feels like everything is a constant drain on your energy levels, particularly if you're an introvert. But it doesn't have to be that way. Follow these 7 easy steps to stay healthy – whether you live in London, Manchester, Rome or Paris!
#1. Get out more
Spending more time outside isn't only good for your social life, it also boosts your health. Did you know that spending more time outside in the morning can help to reset your body's internal clock and promote a better night's sleep later? Soaking up the sun also boosts your levels of vitamin D, needed for a healthy immune system and bone growth. So instead of moaning that you're always coming down with a cold, get your running shoes on and go for a jog outside. Or meet friends for coffee. Just get out there!
#2. Learn to relax
Fast-paced modern life can create more stress, and when our bodies produce elevated levels of stress hormones, this can be detrimental to health. Raised blood pressure, increased risk of stroke and heart disease and even mental illness can all result from too much stress. So work out what helps you relax and take some time out each day to do it – even if it's just 15 minutes. Read a book, take a bath, workout at the gym, have an acupuncture treatment or meditate. It's time to chill.
#3. Make the most of your surroundings
When it comes to eating healthily, the city can be both your best friend and worst enemy. Sure, there are organic markets selling fresh fruit and vegetables and Asian supermarkets packed with spices around every corner, but there are also plenty of takeaways and restaurants battling for your attention. Make the most of the shops in your neighbourhood and try to shop local wherever you can. Buy your eggs fresh and free-range from local farms at the market, pick up fresh fruit and vegetables on a budget at a street market or forget the takeaway and stock up on spices for a healthy curry at your local Asian supermarket. Nobody's saying you can't go out for dinner occasionally, but the only way to really know what's in your food is to cook it yourself.
#4. Wake up your workout
Without a doubt, one of the best things about living in London is the sheer variety of activities available – you're not stuck with just the gym when it comes to working out. One week you could take a rock climbing class, the next week it could be swing dancing, then military boot camp at your local park. With so many different activities to choose from in most cities, keeping fit has never been so easy, and research shows that if you're motivated and inspired by your workout, you're more likely to stick to it. So don't get bored by sticking to the same routine, week-in, week-out. Try something new; who knows, you might like it!
#5. Get your eight hours
When you're working a stressful job in the city and finding time to spend with your friends, family and partner, sometimes it can seem like there aren't enough hours in the day to get a proper night's sleep. But getting between eight to ten hours sleep a night is vital for your health and well-being. Did you know that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and depression, as well as making it more difficult for you to focus and concentrate at work. Switch your phone and laptop off an hour before your bedtime and unwind with a good book; you'll soon drift off.
#6. A little of what you fancy
One of my favourite places in London has to be the Ms. Cupcake shop in Brixton. Sure they're a bakery, but they're vegan, so their cakes are healthy, right? Hmmm, well not quite. There are loads of tempting bakeries and delis across the city offering gluten-free, vegan delights just waiting for you to try. Ok, so there's nothing wrong with the occasional cupcake (I recommend the mint choc chip, if you're asking), and it's true that a little of what you fancy does you good, but everything in moderation. Cross the road rather than walking past that bakery everyday; if you've had a stressful day at the office, it could be too hard to resist!
#7. Single and ready to mingle
Whether you're single or happily loved up, big cities are a great place to kick-start your social life. If you're looking to start a new hobby, find a meet-up group in your area for the perfect way to meet people with similar interests. Network with others in your industry at events and dinners, or get your friends to introduce you to their friends; with so many people in the city, it's never been easier to meet others. Cultivating healthy friendships (and we mean real ones, not Facebook) ensures that you'll have a rich, fulfilling social life. Which makes finally recovering at home on the sofa all the more satisfying.