To outside eyes, Spain can seem a pretty daunting place to maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to the OECD Better Life Index, Spain ranks highly in terms of Health, Safety, and Quality of Life, with the average life expectancy across the country being 83 years. However, thanks to Spain’s popularity as a holiday destination, and the fame of its incredible food, when foreigners think of Spain sometimes excess is the first thing to come to mind.
We don’t believe in limiting yourself. We believe that if you want to spend your afternoon in a churros bar, or your nights surrounded by delicious wine and great company, you absolutely should. Madrid offers a host of delights that you should not miss out on.
But if you’re settling down here for more than just a holiday, maybe your health is a priority for you. Luckily, Madrid also caters to the health-conscious. Active, mindful lifestyles are very common among the population. Not only will you be able to live whatever life you want, you might even meet some new people at the same time.
Anyone walking through any of the parks at any time of day can tell you that exercise is everywhere in our city. From outdoor boxing classes, to joggers, to yoga, everything you could want is here. Check meetup.com to see what’s happening.
There are many sports shops that sell speciality equipment, and Decathlon has locations in every neighbourhood for more general goods.
Like in any major European city, you’ll have your pick of gyms to join in Madrid. Basic Fit is popular among students as it offers the cheapest deals and often has special offers. However, you do have to commit to a 6 month contract as a minimum. If you’re not staying for that long, or you don’t know when you’ll be moving on again, VivaGym have a flexible contract which allows you to cancel whenever you want.
Yes it’s true that if you’re watching your weight or on a strict diet, a traditional tapas bar might not be the best place to go for dinner. (Still very fun, and highly recommended!) But if you’re looking for something with a few more green options, Honest Greens is a great place to go. With meat, fish, vegetarian, and vegan options, all of the food is ethically and organically sourced. And delicious too! For lighter bits, FitFood as smaller plates and snack options in Chueca, Colón, Velázquez, and Serrano.
Of course, there are many many many more options, and you can check out suggestions in the Eat Out Madrid Facebook community.
Of course, you can order online, but sometimes you don’t know what you want until you see it, and for some of us slowly browsing a health food store can be a lovely way to spend a few minutes. You can head to a pharmacy for normal medicine, but if you’re seeking coconut sugar, hemp oil, vegan cheese, zinc tablets, or organic pistachios, you should head to a herbolario. Luckily in Madrid you’re never far from a herbolario and finding your local one should be very easy.
We recommend Herbolario Navarro in Bilbao, which is the biggest herbolario in Madrid. Two floors of pure joy.
Bigger supermarkets will also have several vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free options. Head to places like Mercadona, Alcampo, and Ahorramas. If your nearest Corte Ingles has a supermarket in the basement, they usually also have many great alternatives.
Spain is a country with free healthcare for its residents. If you’re staying here long-term, you can sign up for your tarjeta Sanitaria, giving you full access at your local health centre. If you’re a european citizen, your EHIC card should also give you access if you’re staying here short term.
And don’t worry about getting into an accident in public. The ambulance would be with you ASAP, and they just ask you to fill out and incident form.