You wouldn’t be who you are today if not for this big, crazy place called New York City. In most ways, that’s a good thing. But you’d be lying to yourself if you said that you loved everything that the Capital of the World has done to you. Some of that delicious pizza seems to have gone to your waistline, and you aren’t exactly enjoying a Zen-like calm most days.
We have good news. You don’t have to flee New York City for some inferior place to whip your body and mind into shape. You can take control of the situation right here and right now — with the help of this New York City physical and mental fitness plan.
Building fitness into your routine
One of the frustrating things about big-city living is the lack of space for exercise. Jogging isn’t easy on crowded Manhattan streets, and your studio apartment isn’t exactly roomy enough for a weight bench. Nevertheless, you’re going to need to find a way to keep moving if you’re going to avoid a big belly in the Big Apple.
The best way to commit to exercise is to turn it into a habit — or, better yet, a hobby. If you are constantly doing different exercises at different times, then you’re going to require a ton of willpower to stay on track. By contrast, doing the same sort of exercise at the same time every day will give you the consistency that you need to form a habit.
You’re busy, but you can find time to work out. Maybe you can start hitting the gym after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays — gym memberships are a great way to get space for working out in New York City. Or maybe you can wake up early to go running a nearby park before work — it’ll be tough for a while, but once the habit kicks in, you’ll be cruising.
Finding time to cook
Finding time to work out is hard in New York City, but finding the time (not to mention the space and the will) to cook can be even tougher. When you’re working late and coming home hungry to a cramped kitchen, it’s too easy to reach for your smartphone and order yourself a pizza on Grubhub.
Resist the urge. Find ways to make more home-cooked meals, which are much healthier than takeout and restaurant food. Consider reorganizing your kitchen, trying meal prep, or subscribing to a service that delivers ingredients and recipes to your home.
Adapting your big-city lifestyle
New York City has so much going on, yet most of us tend to focus on its unhealthiest attractions. “Going out” in New York City often means heading to a bar or a restaurant. But you can change gears and use your time out on the town to do healthier things.
New York City’s parks hold group exercise classes and other healthy activities. You’ll also find numerous active volunteer organizations in New York City that make it easy to spend some time giving back — which will be great for your mood and will keep you busy doing something other than downing another hot dog at the ballgame. You can still go out on the town, but don’t make fatty foods and boozy drinks the only New York City experiences you try.
Focusing on mental health
Staying healthy in New York City means much more than staying trim and well-nourished. It also means paying close attention to your mental health. This is a busy, stressful city, full of challenging careers and rude people. The pressure can trigger or exacerbate depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. And even if you’re feeling OK, you’re still dealing with plenty of everyday stress.
That’s why you should consider therapy, say the pros at Therapy Group of NYC (nyctherapy.com). Therapy can work wonders for clients with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, but it’s also great for those with a relatively clean bill of mental health. Therapy is about understanding how we think and act, and learning our own thought and behavioral patterns can help us quash negative thinking and better handle all of the things that New York City throws at us.