When you think of London, the word 'health' may not immediately spring to mind. All that air pollution (the city actually used to be nicknamed The Big Smoke), stressful jobs, fast food and getting from place to place via black cabs or the crowded Underground aren't exactly good for you.
But just like anywhere else in the world, if you want to be healthy in London, you can. You just need to know the right places to go and things to do. And that's what I'm here to help you with. Here are some great ways to stay fit and healthy while visiting, living or working in good ol' London Town.
1. Whole Foods is a large health food chain, well known in America but also with stores in the UK. In London they have branches in Camden, Clapham Junction, Fulham, Kensington, Piccadilly Circus, Richmond and Stoke Newington. If you think you can't find anywhere healthy to eat in London, get down to Whole Foods – they sell fresh organic produce and some of the shops have a food hall where you can sit to eat lunch or dinner. You can often find me at the juice bar sipping on a green smoothie.
2. You could also visit Portobello Road and/or Borough Market – they sell an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, condiments, bread and delicious street food from all over the world. So much better than all the processed stuff you'll be tempted by in the supermarket.
3. London has quite a few green spaces, the largest and most well-known probably being Hyde Park. If you can't afford a gym membership, the park is a great place to work out. It's full of people running, jogging, cycling, practising yoga, playing football and tennis, rowing on the Serpentine or just going for a gentle stroll. It's a good way to get outside in the sunshine and get some (kind of) fresh air into your lungs.
4. Instead of relying on public transport, cycling or walking are more health-friendly ways of getting around. Like many major cities around the world, London has a cycle hire scheme. Try renting one of the famous 'Boris bikes' and using that to explore the city. Just make sure to get it back to one of the docking stations in time or you may be charged a large 'late return' fee!
5. Possibly the most famous sporting event in England's capital city is the London Marathon. Why not grab your running gear, take to the streets and start training for that? Anyone can apply, although you're not guaranteed to be accepted, and it will give you the motivation to improve your fitness levels and move more. Don't have time? You could run to and from work or during your lunch hour instead of getting the Tube everywhere.