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Healthiest Cities

12 tips for being healthy and fit no matter where you live.

In their annual American Fitness Index, the American College of Sports Medicine named Washington D.C. and Boston the second and third fittest U.S. cities respectively. So how do the fittest and healthiest cities get that way (besides being the home of 43 of our Sports Clubs)? By making healthy lifestyle choices that include regular exercise as part of the mix. Living healthy is not only determined by where you live, but by how you live. Below are some tips on how to improve your life by getting fit and healthy wherever you may reside!

  1. Get outside. Sunshine, fresh air and the great outdoors can affect your mood in a positive way. This will make you happier and more motivated to move your body!
  2. Take up a new activity. Studies show that people who engage it a variety of activities tend to work out more. Finding something that you enjoy doubles your activity rate. Try for at least 30 minutes per day, four days per week.
  3. De-stress. City living by itself can be stressful. The noise, crowded streets and hectic lifestyle add unnecessary anxiety. Add yoga or mediation to your routine for a calming effect. A hard cardio workout is also a great way to blow off steam.
  4. Lower blood pressure, decrease body weight and reduce cholesterol. Higher than normal levels in these areas may lead to future health problems. Get off to a good start by checking with your doctor, eating healthy and increasing your physical activity level.
  5. Hydrate. Studies show that people who live in healthy cities tend to drink more water. A well-hydrated body is better prepared to combat fatigue, stress and weight gain while your improving regularity and skin!
  6. Strength train. Cardio alone won't cut it. Building strong muscles tones the body and torches calories - even while you rest! You'll also build a stronger foundation to support additional physical activities. (See next tip).
  7. Walk when you can. Adding physical activity to your day will help keep your mind fresh, muscles loose, blood flowing – not to mention burning more calories than riding in a car or a bus!
  8. Laugh! Laughter really is the best medicine. Those who live in healthy cities don't take things too seriously, socialize more and engage in non-work activities more often.
  9. Take care of yourself. Busy schedules tend to consume our lives. By taking just a few minutes per day to check in with yourself (an hour is even better) you can evaluate what needs attention in your life.
  10. Eat well. The healthiest and fittest cities eat less processed foods, more fruits and veggies and shop local farmers markets. Stocking the fridge with good-for-you foods ensure you have something healthy to eat when a snack attack strikes.
  11. Quit smoking. Many health problems are caused or made worse by smoking. Stopping today can still reverse some of the harmful effects. Many cities now ban smoking in public spaces such as restaurants and parks.
  12. Regardless of where you live, the choice is yours. Choosing healthy is choosing wisely.