Metro areas seem to have a fast food joint on every street corner, making greasy grub difficult to avoid. In other cities, the air quality and weather might limit the quality of life. In the South, it might be harder to avoid fried foods. In Southern California, it might be more difficult to avoid the searing sun or heavy traffic and polluted air. Regardless of what your city offers, it’s possible to develop a healthy lifestyle. To live a healthier style of living, you must understand how to balance your daily routine to make your surroundings more livable.
Set eating expectations: Without a plan, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to sudden bad decisions at mealtimes. Each weekend, before your workweek, make a healthy grocery list and meal plan. Without that guide, you could get trapped at restaurants where there are limited options. Get into the habit of bringing your lunch to work to limit the amount of heavy bread, cheese and other fatty foods at midday. You have to be extra organized to make sure that you can balance the inevitable burger or burrito with fresh greens, lighter carbohydrates like quinoa, and otherhealthy powerfoods. Eating too heavy can limit your energy, which is both a detriment at work and around your loved ones.
In Houston, 34 percent of residents are overweight, according to data reported by Men’s Fitness magazine. Authors Nate Millado and Sara Vigneri say that after Houston, Detroit, Cleveland, Memphis and Tampa are the most overweight cities in America. These types of rankings come out each year in various forms, and they’re largely subjective—each of those cities have plenty of healthy residents who know how to juggle their busy schedules to maintain wellness.
Exercise smarter and mind the weather: Los Angeles routinely tops annual reports for the worst air quality in the U.S. In a 2014 report by the American Lung Association, the Top 5 cities for ozone pollution were located in California. The metro areas of Houston, Dallas, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Las Vegas also rounded out the Top 10. Places like Southern California make it difficult to use the outdoors in a healthy manner. Many outdoor enthusiasts may never feel the impact of poor air quality on their respiratory systems while others who suffer from asthma or similar conditions could be seriously limited.
Simple measures to get beyond heavier air quality include watching for “bad air days,” which are made public through warnings issued by regional air-quality authorities. A 2009 study released by the National Wildlife Federation expects Boston to rise to the top of the list of cities that are most endanger of experiencing an increasing amount of harmful air pollution caused by greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Lighten the load on your respiratory system and practice your activities indoors. Designate a space in your home strictly for in-home workouts like yoga, Pilates or kettlebell exercise routines. Equip your space with energy efficient windowsand wood floors for a gym-like atmosphere.
Recycle at home: Many green and healthy cities across the county like Portland Oregon, have adopted Earth-friendly recycling programs to limit the impact that waste has on our planet. Even if your city, community or neighborhood does not have an established recycling program, be diligent and start sorting your plastics, papers and other materials to recycle at home. To decrease your consumption, consider reusing plastic water bottles for your workouts or use a sustainable grocery bag for your shopping trips.
Commute with coworkers: Does your morning commute consist of bumper-to-bumper traffic and a Trenta double-shot latte from Starbucks? Swap your coffee for tea and drive to work with a coworker. Americans use nearly 368 million gallons of gas each day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. So, do you part to reduce the amount of unhealthy pollution in the air. Keep your city green, healthy and less polluted and participate in a rideshare program instead of driving solo. Even better, ride your bike into work—you’ll emit zero pollutants and you’ll be getting some exercise. Just be sure to wear a helmet and follow all of the road rules.