You likely know about the common factors that can affect your health, including your diet and your exercise routine or lack thereof. However, an aspect that could also impact your health more than you realize is where you live. Whether you live in a rural landscape or a busy city, there are factors that could influence how you eat, think, and access medical care. It is important to have a full understanding of your environment so you can make the best choices for your physical and mental health.
Here are some of the ways that your city may be affecting your health and how you can live the best life possible.
Rural Towns Can Be Healthcare Deserts
There are plenty of perks of living out in the country, including fresh air, lots of space, and peace and quiet throughout the day. However, the issue that many rural towns face is a lack of adequate medical care. You may be living in a healthcare desert. That is a term often used when there isn’t a proper hospital, doctor’s office, or urgent care facility within close proximity of where you live. The problem is that if you have a medical emergency, you may not be able to get the help you need in time, and the results could be deadly.
In addition to not having access to immediate care, people in rural communities may also experience more chronic conditions than people from cities and suburbs. Studies show that Americans in rural areas are more likely to get and sometimes die from heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases.
Another chronic condition that is often seen a lot in rural areas is diabetes. An issue with the various types of diabetes is that they can be hard to fully understand, and if you live in a healthcare desert, then there is less of a chance that you may have a nearby place to fully learn about your condition and get answers. Failure to find help will make the condition worse and can also lead to death.
Even if hospitals were nearby, the other unfortunate fact is that many people in rural areas do not have health insurance, which is essential for affordable care. If this is the case for you, then research affordable insurance at the Healthcare Marketplace.
Eating Right When Healthy Food Is Sparse
Another way that your town may be affecting your health is through the type of food that you have available. In many cases, rural areas are also known as food deserts because while there are farms and produce, there is a general lack of healthy diet options. The problem is serious because, without access to healthy foods, people tend to lean on fast food restaurants and processed foods. A poor diet can lead to many physical ailments, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and varicose veins.
Consuming a healthy diet is also essential for our brain health. When we constantly eat foods that don’t have the proper nutrients, it can lead to cognitive problems, like damage to our brain cells, decreased immune function, and an increased chance of depression or mood disorders.
When you do get the chance to go shopping, make sure to stock up on the foods that can increase your brain health. Examples include berries, which are rich in anthocyanins, which help to slow cognitive decline. Eggs are also necessary for a healthy diet because they contain vitamin B, which is essential for lowering your homocysteine levels. Lower levels mean a decreased chance of conditions like dementia and brain atrophy.
If you do not have a grocery store nearby or you lack the transportation necessary to get to the store on a regular basis, then you need to be smart about how you get the healthy foods that your diet requires. For instance, you should specifically look for products that have a long shelf life so you can store them for longer. Make sure that you always look at nutrition labels to ensure that you are buying the healthiest options. You can also load up on the pantry staples like lentils, rice, and plain oats. These ingredients will last a long time, and they can be made into plenty of healthy meals.
City Living Also Has An Impact
Of course, it is not just the rural areas that can have an effect on your well-being. Cities can also take a toll on your physical and mental health. Urban areas are often loud and full of movement and commotion, and that constant stimulation can make many people feel anxious and upset. Studies show that urbanites are 39% more likely to have mood disorders than rural residents.
Cities can also make life more hectic as it isn’t uncommon for many people to commute for several hours in a day in order to get to and from a job and then go right to sleep and do it all over again. On top of the mental aspect, when life comes at you non-stop, it is also harder to take the time you need to relax your mind and get the exercise that you need to thrive.
If you do live in a city, then it is important to take care of your body and mind. If your workday and commute are too demanding, then ask your manager to work remotely. Also, even if you are living in tight quarters, find a way to exercise by joining a gym or riding your bike from place to place. Finally, if you are dealing with stress and anxiety and it won’t end, then consider speaking to a therapist, and they can help you to find your way.
As you can see, there are factors in rural and city life that can negatively impact our health, so it is important that you make the proper adjustments. Consider the advice discussed here, and live your best life in any environment.
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.
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