Some people live for the hustle and bustle of places like the Big Apple. They dig a town that never sleeps and can’t imagine not being able to order Thai food at 2 am. If you’re among them, have you ever wondered how big city living may impact your health?
The good news is there are perks and downsides to any lifestyle choice. Where you live isn’t the only element influencing your well-being, but you should be aware of the factors that can lead to disease development.
Does your urban lifestyle affect you for better or worse? Is your health impacted by city living? Here’s what to consider.
How Where You Live Affects Your Health: 5 Factors
The place you call home impacts your life in several ways, but the most crucial could be how you feel about your living arrangement. Poor mental health resulting from depression over your circumstances or anxiety over feeling unsafe can lead to physical symptoms, even disease. Therefore, please don’t fear you’ll have to leave city life if you love it — your preferences matter!
However, other factors determine how healthy or unhealthy your living arrangement is. Consider the following five conditions.
1. Walk Score
Please don’t think city life is sedentary — far from it. Those who live in big cities can often walk to destinations faster than they can drive, rarely bothering with a car. They up their daily step count and spare themselves the mental stress of a monthly car payment. Conversely, those who live in rural areas may have to travel miles to the nearest grocery store, chaining them to their vehicles.
Pollution tends to be worse in urban areas. Air pollution claims 7 million lives prematurely yearly, while others incur hefty medical bills. However, not all less crowded areas are bereft of problems. Natural gas companies often buy up rural land for fracking, leading to environmental issues, and living downwind of an industrial farm can be downright stinky.
3. Lights and Noise
Pollution doesn’t only consist of mining leaks and particulates in the air. It also refers to noise and light. Constant bombardment from either interrupts normal sleep schedules and can increase anxiety, and these irritants proliferate in urban areas.
Here’s another Janus-faced issue. On the one hand, cities have higher crime rates on average. On the other hand, you have a much more rapid police response. It can take first responders a half-hour or more to respond to calls in rural areas, by which time the crime is done, and the criminal fled.
5. Sense of Community
Here, there’s no consensus. Some urban neighborhoods have a greater sense of community than rural areas. However, there is something to say for small-town life where you know every other face you meet. It all boils down to where you feel comfortable enough to reach out and build a network of friends.
How City Living Impacts Your Health
City living can impact your health for better or worse. Your most pressing issue is reducing conditions like pollution that can disrupt everything from sleep to hormonal balance. Be mindful of how the above factors influence you and take mitigating steps, such as walking to pickup your DoorDash order instead of delivery.
Please remember that your mental health matters. If city life produces such severe anxiety that you rarely leave your house, you’ll suffer mentally and physically. Eventually, the lack of exercise, sunlight and interactions with others will take their toll — what are your realistic relocation options?
4 Healthy Tips For Making The Most Of Where You Live
However, most people can feel healthy in the city or country. How can you do the same? Follow these tips.
1. Embrace Natural Spaces
Even New York features over 800 acres in Central Park alone and has several other outdoor recreational facilities, some even greater in size. Regardless of where you live, find your nearest outdoor green space and make it your happy place.
What if you’re far from the nearest nature center? While imperfect, you can create a miniature urban jungle at home. Some species of houseplants are simple for even novices to raise, so line your balcony with bamboo for privacy and fill the interior with various growing things that purify your indoor air while creating the illusion of being immersed in nature.
2. Move Your Body Daily
Exercise is vital to life, reducing your risk of nearly every disease. Those who live in cities may have a leg up on their country kin here. There’s a yoga or unique fitness studio on nearly every corner, letting you find a workout vibe that suits your soul.
3. Meet Your Neighbors
Nearly one in six Americans doesn’t know any of their neighbors. Is it any wonder loneliness has reached epidemic levels? Attempt to meet those who live near you, perhaps knocking on the door with a small gift.
Pro-tip: People tend to look more kindly on those who ask them for favors, assuming they don’t wear out the privilege. Perhaps visiting your next-door neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar is a great icebreaker, after all!
4. Make Your Home a Safe Haven
If crime anxiety keeps you awake at night, but you otherwise love your uptown studio, make your home as much of a fortress as possible. Technology makes it easier and more affordable than ever. Those on a budget can find security camera bulbs that screw into your standard light fixture and screechers that alert you if someone opens a door or window.
Is Your Health Impacted By City Living?
City living can impact your health, but how you feel about where you live makes the biggest splash. If you love the urban lifestyle, use the tips above to improve your well-being.