For all its virtues, New York City isn't exactly the picture of urban zen: The Big Apple was voted the dirtiest, rudest and loudest city in America in a 2012 Travel + Leisure survey, and as the comedian Lewis Black has said, "It's so loud I never have to listen to any of the sh*t that's going on in my own head."
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On the other hand, New York also boasts some of the best art, food, music, universities and hospitals in the world -- all of which go a long way toward promoting healthy, fulfilling lifestyles. And living in the midst of relative chaos requires New Yorkers to become uniquely skilled at developing resilience and adapting to their circumstances.
Here are 13 things that the rest of the country can learn from New York about living well.
1. New Yorkers walk everywhere
In New York, where it's notoriously difficult to own a car, walking -- which has been linked with health benefits including lower stress levels, boosted self-esteem, weight loss and a reduced risk of heart disease -- is a major form of transportation. And many New Yorkers know that the best way to escape the hustle and bustle is to take a relaxing stroll through Riverside Park or the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens -- an activity that can put the brain into a state of meditation, according to recent research.
2. New York's hospitals and doctors are some of the best in the country
New York City is home to two hospitals on U.S. News & World Report's 2013 Honor Roll, and was named number one of the five cities with the most top hospitals (there are 55 U.S. News-ranked hospitals in the greater New York City area).
"No metro area can top New York City," wrote Ben Harder, general manager of health and science at U.S. News, of the city's medical facilities.
New York magazine also ranks roughly 1,200 of the city's best physicians each year in its New York's Best Doctors issue -- and because of the quality of the city's hospitals many of them are among the best in the world in their respective fields.
3. New Yorkers take their gym time VERY seriously
New Yorkers spend more money than all but two other American cities on gym memberships, according to data pulled from more than 5 million mint.com users. In 2011, New Yorkers spent an average of $134.50 a month on gym and fitness center memberships.
New York is home to hundreds of gyms, from the luxury to the budget-friendly. And the city launched national fitness crazes such as SoulCycle, CrossFit, Aquacycling and Anti-Gravity Yoga.
4. New York accommodates every kind of eater
Vegans, raw foodies, gluten-free eaters, paleo dieters and anyone with a food allergy knows that it's relatively easy to stick to a diet plan in New York City. A number of specialty restaurants, markets and bakeries across the city cater to special food needs, so that even the vegan and gluten-free can enjoy New York staples like pizza and cupcakes. Locavores also flock to the city, which is one of the most highly-rated in the U.S. for local food.
5. New Yorkers are all in it together
New Yorkers don't have a reputation for being warm and hospitable, but they're not as unfriendly as the stereotypes would have you think. New York was actually ranked the best city to meet people and make friends in a recent survey. The data was based on philanthropy (New Yorkers, it turns out, are particularly giving), walkability, and stability of population (57.5 percent of NYCers have been in their current residence for at least five years).
"My favorite thing about New York is the people, because I think they're misunderstood," Bill Murray said in a 2010 interview with MovieFone. "I don't think people realize how kind New York people are."
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SOURCE: The Huffington Post