In the grand, annual tradition we call the New Year’s Resolution, several reign year after year: join a gym; eat healthier; lose weight . . . A better way to resolve, though, might be to go bigger; broader. Think holistic. Think wellness. Think become-one-with-the-world. As resolutions go, maybe starting at a higher level will help you better succeed.Turns out you can find your holistic paths to wellness in Tucson, Arizona from what you eat to how you tune your soul. Here are some Tucson ways to refresh and reinvigorate yourself for the New Year.
Getting off the grid is a great way to get back in touch with things that really matter. Plus, it can better your health and feelings of wellness. Studies show that spending time in nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and even boost your memory.
Nestled at the edge of the Sonoran Desert, Tucson lures travelers with over 300 days of sunshine and a diverse landscape. The area offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors: Cycle up Mount Lemmon from the desert floor to the coniferous forest; go to Saguaro National Park; or slow things down with world-class bird-watching at Madera Canyon.
(Pictured: Tucson sits at the edge of The Sonoran Desert—nature at its best.)
Nourish your body
There’s no end to the ways good nutrition can drive wellness: lowering blood pressure and blood sugar; preventing obesity; fighting chronic disease; improving your mood—you name it.
Designated by UNESCO as the first City of Gastronomy in the United States, Tucson offers an exciting modern food scene with a rich culinary heritage that spans 4,000 years. Tucson boasts a number of spas and facilities that offer up tasty, healthy dishes (and a couple can even teach you more about how to better your eating habits at home). You'll find natural local ingredients like cholla buds and prickly pear on nearly every menu.
(Pictured: Distinct flavors and local ingredients make Tucson a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.)
Balance your mind
While relaxing in the desert itself can soothe your mind, some tried-and-true practices can truly help you reach nirvana. Meditation, for one, has proved to reduce stress, control anxiety, increase attention span, boost self-awareness—the list goes on. Yoga, too, can better your mental and emotional health.
In Tucson, you’ll find places to enjoy both. The area includes a number of meditation centers, yoga studios, and spas that offer these disciplines too. Plus, Tucson's warm weather and great outdoors provide the perfect setting to harness the power of mindfulness. Here's just one: Take your yoga session to Romero Canyon Trail in Catalina State Park, where you can soak up the sounds of the Romero Pools cascading water.
(Pictured: Yoga and the outdoors come together at the Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa.)
The benefits of exercise are so vast and well known, it would be pointless to try listing them all here. Just remember that your body, mind, and emotional well-being all vastly improve through physical fitness.
With its dry desert climate, Tucson offers times year-round amiable to outdoor workouts (even during its hottest months, you can find parts of the day where the mercury rises only to the mid-70s). From mountain biking to road cycling, riders can choose desert trails inside Tucson's five surrounding mountain ranges—or take The Loop, the urban bike trail that circles the city. If you like workouts up high, take to the Santa Catalina Mountains, where you'll find more than 2,700 climbing routes, ranging from single pitch clip-ups to multi-pitch traditional routes.
(Pictured: Bike alongside the sentinels of the Southwest at the Saguaro National Park.)
Expand your horizons
Some 80 percent of the world population lives under skies marred by light pollution. That's a pity, since stargazing is yet another activity that can lower stress and lift mood (not to mention provoke great feelings of awe).
Tucson, often called the astronomy capital of the world, gives you ample opportunity to look up. Home to the University of Arizona and its research observatory, telescopes top Tucson mountains, taking advantage of the city's clean air and open, dark skies. Visitors can enjoy the skies from such facilities as the SkyCenter mountaintop observatory at Mount Lemmon and the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium.
(Pictured: Under the stars at the historic Mission San Xavier del Bac.)