Health and Wellness in Central Mexico

When Kathy Machir, 66, and her husband Jim, 70, moved to San Miguel de Allende eight years ago from San Diego, she gave up golf. Golf was an important part of her life; it kept her in great shape, was a social outlet, and provided a major network for her interior design business. Interestingly, she didn’t give it up because of a lack of golf courses in San Miguel de Allende (in fact, there is a golf course just around the corner from her house). She stopped golfing because she found herself with so many other options for making friends and having fun.

“I never run out of fun and interesting things to do and see here,” says Kathy. She practices yoga five days a week, walks everywhere, kayaks on the lake, volunteers for a local low-income retirement home, and spends time socializing with and entertaining the many friends they’ve made.

Kathy is not alone in finding San Miguel de Allende a gold mine for health and wellness. With walkable streets, clean air, a comfortable year-round climate, easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables, excellent and affordable healthcare, a welcoming social network of expats, and a plethora of activities, San Miguel de Allende makes it easy to live a healthy lifestyle.

High-end, yet affordable, gyms and yoga studios are scattered throughout town. At a popular yoga studio in the San Antonio neighborhood you can buy a 10-class pass for $60. At $6 per class that’s a fraction of what yoga costs in most American and Canadian cities. Across the street from the yoga studio is a friendly, local gym with all the equipment you could ever need. It offers memberships for $20 a month, with additional discounts for long-term memberships. If you enjoy Pilates, there are multiple studios offering classes for $12 to $15. The park in the center of town, with basketball courts and walking trails, also hosts Zumba and yoga classes.

Horseback riding in the campo, or countryside, is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in this gorgeous setting. With multiple ranches surrounding town there are plenty of options to choose from. One sprawling ranch, owned and run by a friendly expat family, offers private horseback riding lessons for $25.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite after all that activity, you can stroll through one of the several natural and organic markets in town, where you can find organic produce, a range of refrigerated health foods (such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and yogurt), local honey, cheese, grass-fed beef, and personal care products (from makeup and lotions to homeopathic remedies). There are fruit and vegetable markets (that also sell fresh-squeezed juices), tortilla stands, and butchers in every neighborhood, so healthy dinner ingredients are always within a few blocks.

Accessibility to quality healthcare is also a big bonus to living in San Miguel de Allende. “The hospitals and doctors here and within a 45-minute drive are some of the best I’ve ever encountered. I have wonderful specialists who speak English and healthcare is so affordable,” says Kathy.

One of the greatest indicators of health and well-being is having a strong social support system, and San Miguel de Allende does not disappoint.

“The social network here is the best part. The expats come from all walks of life and backgrounds, but they are incredibly welcoming and supportive and the network is huge. Most people aren’t the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ types and we share a ‘joie de vivre.’ We don’t have to explain why we left our old life behind to move here, we all help each other out, and we have a lot of fun,” says Kathy.

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