How to stay healthy in Hong Kong ?

Stay healthy in Hong Kong

Staying in good shape when you live in a busy city like Hong Kong, with long working hours and high levels of pollution can sometimes be a real challenge. So here’s our advice to stay healthy in the city.

Eating healthier

Eating healthy in Hong Kong is usually easier said than done. It can be really tempting to go to the restaurant every day or regularly have some food-on-the-go during your lunch breaks. With this kind of lifestyle, it can sometimes be delicate to maintain a varied, balanced diet.

The first step to a healthier lifestyle is to eat more home-cooked meals. Invest in fresh, nutritious food and cook your own dishes. By preparing it yourself, you will know exactly what you are eating and at the same time, you will considerably reduce your consumption of processed food, which can often be found in fast food restaurants and instant meals. Hong Kong offers a variety of local shops and markets that are selling fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meat. For instance, you can visit the Wet market in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai or head over to the organic farmer’s market in Central, where you will be able to find fresh supplies.

If you don’t have time to cook or go shopping, try to avoid fast food restaurants or unhealthy food. Find new places for lunch and dinner and start incorporating more healthy dishes into your diet. Hong Kong is full of healthy restaurants offering salads, soups, poke bowls…as well as healthy cooked meals with nutritious ingredients.

In addition, did you know that Asian cuisines are some of the healthiest in the world? So whenever you have the occasion, try out some Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai or even Lebanese food. What they have in common is that they are all made from natural, fresh ingredients which are often full of incredible virtues. For instance, the famous Thai soup Tom Yung Gung is made of shrimps, coriander, lemongrass, ginger and other herbs and spices and happens to possess properties one hundred times more effective than any other antioxidant to fight cancer. Japanese cuisine also uses many cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables and is prepared in a very healthy way, either with a light steam or a quick stir-fry. So embrace Asian flavors as part of your new diet!

Exercise more

With long working hours, it can sometimes be a real challenge to find time to exercise. However, it is essential to maintain a balanced lifestyle to engage in a physical activity as regularly as possible. And luckily for you, Hong Kong offers a wide variety of sports activities and facilities, whether you are into yoga, tennis, martial arts, sailing… The most important thing is to find a sport that really suits you, so that physical activity always remains a pleasure, not an obligation. Also, don’t forget that Hong Kong is home to numerous mountain trails so don’t miss an occasion to go hiking on the weekends!

In addition, to adapt themselves to the busy lifestyle of Hong Kongers, many fitness studios offer their members short but intensive classes that you can complete within less that one hour. That way, you can always squeeze in a lesson before going to the office or even during your lunch break.

By starting a new physical activity, you will quickly see the results on your health: you will start to feel more dynamic, will sleep a lot better and it will also help you release stress.

Handle stress

Anxiety has been proven to be much more common in large cities. Living in hectic Hong Kong can indeed be quite stressful: according to a study conducted by the government, only 6% of the people surveyed felt completely stress-free. This is often caused by important workloads, long working hours or even imbalance between family and work.

To avoid being overstressed, it is really important for you to take some time to unwind. For instance, don’t hesitate to take part in some yoga or tai chi classes, try a meditation session or simply spend some quiet time on your own. Some people will also prefer to have an intense sports session to release stress, so simply try to find the best solution to handle your stress better.

It might not seem important at first sight, but feeling less stressed-out will help you concentrate better, gain self-confidence or give you some extra-motivation whether it is in your professional or personal life.

Protect yourself from air pollution

Hong Kong is unfortunately known for its high pollution levels caused by cars, factories and ship fuel burning. So how can you protect your health from it?

To begin with, try to follow the pollution indices every day. You can easily download apps on your smartphone such as “Air Quality” or “HK Air” to be able to check the information you need. Then, try to avoid outdoor activities when pollution levels are particularly high. Reduce intense sports activities like running or hiking during pollution peaks and prefer indoor activities. It can seem a little extreme, but high pollution levels can unfortunately have long-term effects on your health, so it is really important to minimize the risks.

In addition, it is also advised to purchase a good air purifier for your home. When you sleep, you actually breathe about 1/3 of your daily air, which is why you should pay close attention to cleaning the air in your home at night. You can find many brands and many prices range for air purifiers, so you can easily buy one that suits your needs.

…and do not forget to cover your health !

If you have any health issue while in Hong Kong, be reassured: the city possesses one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world. However, as healthcare costs are relatively high, it is essential for you to choose the right health insurance to cover all your medical expenses, so don’t hesitate to contact [dot] hk [at] april [dot] com (contact one of our advisors) to learn more about your insurance options.

Date of publication April 7, 2017