The highs and lows of city life

You’re living in the concrete jungle. But will spending your days in the city leave you feeling slick or sick? We spoke to New York City-based nutritionist and health expert Lisa Drayer to find out more about how living the urban life can be a buzz — or a buzzkill — to your mental and physical wellbeing.

» The problem: Seats on the bus and the subway accumulate dirt, while hand bars and railings don’t exactly get disinfected every hour. Most big cities also suffer from pollution, so an outdoor commute — such as riding your bike or walking to a subway station —will expose you to car fumes.   
» The solution: Walking (one hour can burn up to 200 calories) or riding into work is an excellent way to fit exercise into your daily routine. Try wearing a protective mask when on your bike and look for quiet routes, avoiding rush hour. Carry hand sanitizer to get rid of subway germs.

» The problem: We can easily stick to going from our beds to the shower to the office. We hustle, but we are not always actively physical.
» The solution: Choose the stairs over the elevator — and if you’re on the bus or subway, get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way. At the office, walk over to someone’s desk rather than sending them an e-mail ­— the more you move, the more you burn.

» The problem: Late nights spent glued to our desks writing up a business proposal (or, um, scanning Facebook), with a hectic social life on the side, means most of us don’t sleep the recommended eight hours a night.
» The solution: Limit evening phone calls and weekday dinners, saving them for Saturdays and Sunday, when you have more free time.

» The problem: Meetings, deadlines, video calls … little time means we grab the first thing we see to eat on the go. There’s no excuse: A city so diverse gives you plenty of choices in terms of what and where we eat.
» The solution: Instead of heading straight for the fast-food joint or a candy bar, go for the healthier option such as salad bars or fruity snacks. You can order online from health food stores or see if there is a local farmers’ market near your office.


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