Metro speaks 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 bit of a buzzkill to your mental and physical well-being.
High and lows: Seats on the bus and the subway accumulate and trap 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.
Don’t get me wrong: Walking (one hour can burn up to 200 calories) or riding into work is an excellent way to fit exercise into your daily routine. But…
The solution: Try wearing a protective mask when on your bike, and look for quiet routes while avoiding rush hour. And carry hand sanitizer to get rid of subway germs.
High and lows: 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: Walk or ride a bike to work, 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 email—the more you move, the more you burn.
Highs and lows: Cities rarely get quiet, even when it’s the middle of the night. Cars honk, buses and cars backfire, half-drunk pedestrians scream —there is always some sort of commotion that could trigger a headache. Late-night action can be a good thing when you need a pint of milk at 3 a.m. or take a night bus home after a party. But you won’t get your beauty sleep.
The solution: Grab your MP3 player, plug in the headphones and listen to music as you drift off. Quiet, soothing music, of course.
Highs and lows: 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.
Highs and lows: Meetings, deadlines, video calls… little time means we grab the first thing we fancy to chew on the go. Our eating patterns tend to be erratic as we suck down eats lacking in vital nutrients. 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.