1. Walk Everywhere – This one is obvious but is probably the single biggest impact to your health in downtown. The attraction of urban life is often the density of goods and services that are within walking distance. Once you park your vehicle or step off the bus, walking is how you will get around. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a day for at least 5 days a week. That is perfect because the walk to the Hong Kong Express on El Paso street from the office and back typically takes us about 20 minutes total. Combined with the total 10 minute walk to and from the parking garage… we have walked at least 30 minutes of minimum healthy goodness every day.
2. Less Chain Restaurants – It’s no mystery that many of the new restaurants cropping up downtown are, for lack of a better word, “hip” but with that hipness is an oft times passionate commitment to progressive methods of sourcing and preparing food. This leads to not only more creative food offerings but chances are it won’t be as processed as a fast-food franchise. Fresher is often better and that can only be good news for your health.
3. More Health Food Options – Having less unhealthy food isn’t enough, downtown also has more health food options to maintain a delicious but healthy diet. The Green Ingredient takes food substitutions to another level by maintaining a level of unprocessed, nutrient rich menu items rivaling the most forward thinking L.A. health restaurants. The Healthy Bite attracts its strong customer-base with their Greek salad and any eatery that can boast a salad as the corner stone of success is doing something right. On top of that, downtown is home to not one but two Subways. Jared would feel right at home in downtown, El Paso.
4. Biking – As a downtown resident, you might feel inclined to join the cycling culture and truly immerse yourself in urban life. Beautiful bike racks are slowly being installed all over downtown and businesses like Biciklo Bike shop on Mesa are available to maintain your ride that in turn maintains your waist-line.
5. Add steps to your pedometer with all of the walking around downtown construction! Ok, we’re poking fun at ourselves because we know this is only temporary, with projects like San Jacinto Plaza set to reinvigorate the heart of downtown, pedestrians will have one more beautiful path to stroll in the Sun City. Construction is planned for an early 2015 completion that will not only see the return of El Paso staples like Los Lagartos but new additions like a splash pad and a café.
6. Laughter – According to a 2001 study by physicians Pattillo and Itano, laughing 100 times is the equivalent of 10 minutes on a rowing machine. I’m fairly certain most people would prefer to laugh. Besides the burst of internal exercise, laughing is linked to stress relief, improved blood flow and an improved immune system. So, the next time you see an opportunity to catch a downtown show like George Lopez or the upcoming Damon Wayans performance at the Abraham Chavez theatre on August 22, take advantage of it. The Plaza Classic film festival is certain to be showing plenty of comedies this year like, The Kid with Charlie Chaplin, The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe and the cult classic Office Space. Take in a show,… do it for your health.
7. Downtown Dancing – Every major metropolis is home to all of the hot dance clubs and Union Plaza has made a name for itself as the downtown dancing destination. According to the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, dancing is just as helpful for losing weight and increasing aerobic power as cycling or jogging. Downtown is home to many dance clubs including 1914, Brick and Mortar, Epic, the Black Pearl and Lotus Night Club. Besides the dance clubs, downtown hosts the Dancing in the City series on Saturdays at the Convention Center Plaza and Al Fresco Fridays! Dance the weight off!
8. Shop Smart at the Art and Farmers Market – Finding fresh, locally grown produce isn’t always easy but the Downtown Artist and Farmers Market can help. Located in Union Plaza every Saturday morning, the market will not only get you off the couch but get you in touch with like-minded people who offer everything from produce and organic granola to gluten-free health minded treats like those sold by Savage Baked Goods.
9. Forego the elevator today-take the stairs.