The Best Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit on the Oaxacan Riviera: You Told Us

By Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken

Thanks to the readers who responded to our survey in January, we now know how so many of you stay healthy and fit. We asked you to tell us about the best forms of exercise on the beach, in the water and in other outdoor locations, in fitness centers and in your homes. We asked for advice about the best places for a long walk, for running or jogging, for fitness swimming, biking and hiking. And we also asked about foods to eat and overall recommendations to stay fit and healthy.

Although some readers made it clear that they have no interest in exercise or wholesome foods, for the most part, your combined responses could serve as a guide that health professionals would enthusiastically support. Close to twothirds of reader respondents said that the best exercise on the beach is walking (47%) or volleyball (16%). The rest favored jogging (11%) or yoga (11%).

Over half (53%) of readers who provided advice about the best form of exercise in the water said swimming; an additional 33% said snorkeling. As far as exercise in other outdoor locations, 40% said walking, 13%, biking; 13% hiking, and 13% yoga. And, although less than half of the readerrespondents appear to use health or fitness center facilities, those who do mentioned just about every form of equipment as a personal favorite for working out.

In readers’ own homes the favorite forms of exercise included yoga (21%) and gardening (14%). Given the privacy of their homes, some readers showed creativity in exercising, such as making love, dancing in the shower, and, our personal favorite – filling the tub with water, pulling the plug, and fighting the current.

We certainly appear to have a wealth of best places for a long walk. Slightly under half (44%) of places mentioned were beaches – either in general or one of many specific favorites. Slightly over half (56%) mentioned specific roads – and among the road walkers, 50% were on a route that runs through Chahue such as Chahue to Tangolunda or Chahue to Crucecita.

Many responses were given for the best place for running or jogging. Unlike the long distance walks, only 15% of respondents nominated beaches for this pursuit; the rest are road-runners and, among those, over one-third (36%) described a route that runs through Tangolunda.

For sheer endurance we applaud the reader who suggested running from Chahue up to El Faro (the lighthouse above Entrega Beach) followed by the respondent who described running from Santa Cruz to Arrocito and back.

Best places for fitness swimming were most likely to be pools (64%); about half of the pool swimmers head to a spa and half have the luxury of a private pool. A sizable minority of respondents (36%) preferred ocean swimming – notably in Santa Cruz Bay mentioned by 40% of ocean swimmers.

Fewer than 50% of respondents provided advice for best places to bike or hike; those who did were most likely to recommend heading for the hills. The roads and trails up around the coffee plantations were the only consistently mentioned places.

Recommendations for best locally available food for maintaining health fitness would gladden a nutritionist’s heart. For breakfast 47% said fresh fruit. For lunch, 36% recommended salads and an additional 27% fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, or fish. The vast majority (71%) said the best food for dinner is fresh fish or seafood.

A majority (55%) of overall recommendations for staying healthy and fit on the Oaxacan Coast involved staying active – especially walking. One reader reminded us to keep laughing – ‘life is good.’ And finally, a recommendation that many of us love to follow: just to live here on the Oaxacan Riviera.