Wake up Happy
‘The future belongs to those who wake up early.’ An extra hour or two, or even 10 minutes, can help you get your day off to a good start. This extra time could allow you to sit down and eat a proper breakfast to set you up for the day, pamper yourself, or allow you to follow your normal routine at a more relaxed pace.
Walk to Work
Walking can extend your life by up to three years and burns 120 calories in half an hour - so say whatever to the weather and hello to a healthier you! A survey conducted by YouGov for the charity also revealed that walkers are amongst the happiest commuters. A major 88% of those questioned for the National Travel Survey who walk most of the way to work said that the way they travel makes them happy – further proof that it’s also beneficial for your mental health.
Download the smartphone Urban Walking Route Planner app (walkit.com) which plots the best walking routes in over 40 UK cities, calculating the time it will take to walk at any pace, calories burnt, steps taken, and the carbon dioxide emissions offset by walking rather than driving. Another walking app is Moves (moves-app.com) which automatically records any walking, cycling and running you do from your pocket or bag.
It’s no coincidence that New York is called the Big Apple: there are juice bars on every corner and fitness centers everywhere. In California, vegan and vegetarian restaurants are ubiquitous, and in Thailand, locals sip water from fresh coconuts and absorb the Vitamin D-rich sun’s rays. However, not every city is geared toward a healthy lifestyle.
You get home after a hard day at work, and all you want to do it slump in front of the sofa and whack in a ready meal. Lunches at work is a trip down to the local supermarket for a meal deal or a microwaveable pasty.
Researchers from the British Heart Foundation found that we consume at least a third of our daily calorie intake while at work. What we eat and drink affects not just our health but our work performance too. If we don't eat regular well-balanced meals or drink enough water, we may get headaches, feel sluggish or have difficulty concentrating. Fruit and vegetables are one of our main sources of vitamins and minerals, which the body needs to perform a variety of functions well. For instance, vitamin A helps to strengthen our immune system, B vitamins help us process energy from food. Ensuring you get your five-a-day will help reduce the risk of catching nasties off door handles and bus buzzers, help prevent depression and improve general well-being.
Find Time to Socialise
‘Friendship is born in that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’ C.S. Lewis
You may find you have a great crowd of friends at work, but it is also important to find friends outside of the office. Meeting people through a fitness activity is an easy way as you already share a common interest. Many sports shops offer free running clubs, and joining a regular fitness class could result in striking up a conversation with another regular. Having a group of friends you can meet for activities or drinks in the evening can help you feel less isolated, learn new skills, feel more fulfilled, and find interesting places and hang-outs in the city.
Researchers from Lund University, Sweden, studied the lifestyle of 21,000 people aged between 18 and 65 who travel to work by car, train, bus, bike and foot over a year, and found that those who drove to work reported up to a whopping 62 per cent more sleeping problems than those who walked or cycled. Those who took the bus or train weren't much better, with the research stating they had up to 53 per cent more stress and a 43 per cent higher rate of sleeplessness.
Traffic noise alone harms the health of one in three Europeans, according to The World Health Organization, and one in five is regularly exposed to sound levels at night that could damage health. Noise levels on the London tube are around 90 decibels, the level audiologists say should be the maximum volume on MP3 players. Noise can also disturb your sleep, aggravate stress levels and raise blood pressure. Invest in some ear plugs at night for a better night’s sleep and better health, and consider double glazing or swapping windows open at night for a fan.
features writer & lifestyle blogger and avid shoe wearer.