When describing health conscious cities, one might conjure up images of mountain bikers in Boulder or surfers and yogis in Los Angeles, but the warm climate and laid-back lifestyle our beautiful Sonoran desert is becoming a mecca for health-minded folks eager to soak up the sun and live an active lifestyle.
Here are some fun and healthy activities that we highly recommend.
You might be surprised at the abundant farms full of organic produce here in desert, but from September to May there really isn’t a better way to spend a weekend morning than at one of the many local farmers markets around town. Less than 10 minutes from SCNM is Singh Meadows, a beautiful location where you can find delicious food and juice stands, a yoga class under the sun, kids climbing trees, a serene pond, and even outdoor Moroccan-style beds (for where else would you want to eat your freshly baked bread and homemade apple-fig jam?).
If you’re into hiking, look no further. Most people don’t realize that the Phoenix metro area, also affectionately known as the “Valley of the Sun,” is surrounded by low-lying mountains on all sides. The city of Tempe, home to SCNM and ASU, has great hiking options only a short drive away. Whether you feel like checking out spring wildflowers in the Superstition Mountains, testing your knowledge of cacti and plant life at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, or blazing a rigorous trail during sunrise or sunset atop Camelback Mountain (pictured above), there is no shortage of outdoor adventure nearby. Just be sure to bring plenty of water!
These days, there seems to be a yoga studio on every corner, and Phoenix is no exception. Students at SCNM need not venture far, however, as we have our very own yoga studio on campus. With different types of yoga classes offered almost every day of the week, you can truly live the naturopathic lifestyle as a medical school student at SCNM. Or if you feel like going off campus for an energizing vinyasa practice or a soothing restorative class, check out Spirit of Yoga, located just 1.5 miles from campus. And be sure to mention you’re an SCNM student for your $8 drop in discount!
On a particularly warm summer day, you can find respite from the bustling city by driving just two hours north to spend a day among the red rocks of Sedona or the cool pines of Flagstaff. Known as the spiritual capital of the US, Sedona is full of gorgeous hiking trails situated along energy centers called "vortexes." And if you're looking for a reiki healer, massage therapist, or yoga class in Sedona, you will have more options that you know what to do with. Flagstaff, home to Arizona's Snowbowl, is the perfect place for winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding, or hiking through the changing leaves of the aspen trees in summer or fall. A down-to-earth town with a progressive edge, Flagstaff is also worth visiting for its unique and independent coffee shops, bookstores, and restaurants.
For more health-conscious events around the Phoenix area, the monthly Natural Awakenings calendar is a great resource as well, proving that even amid the urban sprawl of the city, this desert oasis has something for everyone.