How the HECK Do You Do It?

When people discover that I live in New York City, they are always surprised.

They ask, “How is it possible to stay healthy while living in such a big, congested city?”

Well, it’s easy actually. And, I often wonder how is it possible that someone can live in a big city and not remain healthy!

I realize that highly populated cities can be polluted and overcrowded, and the people living in them may be moving at an unsustainable pace.

It’s not uncommon for folks in big cities to work long hours and have short tempers, to subsist on fast food, caffeine, and sugar, all to keep the city up and running twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

But, within an unhealthy city environment also lives a wealth of healthy options.

Nestled between the Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s you may find Panera Bread, Le Pain Quotidien, Chop’t, Fresh and Company, and Chipotle, or other healthier fast food options.

And, I know there’s hot-dog stands, kabob carts and hot pretzels on practically every corner, but there are also fruit and vegetable stands.

Many big cities also have Farmer’s markets and healthy food markets like Fairway, Hannaford, Safeway, Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Granted there may not be as many healthy food options as there are unhealthy options, but I assure you, every big city has something somewhere.

All you gotta do is locate it.

Big cities are also filled with great ways to de-stress and unwind without getting totally ossified at the nearest bar for happy hour.

There are a variety of places that you can:

  • Stretch your body in a yoga class
  • Free your mind at a meditation center
  • Relax your body with a twenty-minute massage

Even without a “happy ending” you’ll still be pretty darn happy.

My all-time favorite thing about big cities are their beautiful parks.

For example, Central Park is an oasis in the middle of New York City. Spending time outdoors in the park is one of the best ways to stay healthy and connected to nature.

My husband reminds me, “If it weren’t for Central Park we would have to move.”

There’s something about having that precious slab of nature in the center of the chaotic city that creates a feeling of overall peace and calm.

And, lastly… although many cities operate twenty-four hours a day, it doesn’t mean the people living in them need to do the same.

We need to rest.

IMG_0648New York is often called the city that never sleeps.

Thankfully, this New Yorker knows that sleeping is vital to good health. So, I make sure that I sleep with the moon and wake with the sun.

Do you live in a big city?

What are your favorite ways to stay healthy and happy in your city?