09/13/2013 11:09 am ET

What Miami Can Teach The Rest Of America About Living Well (PHOTOS)

Miami's unfortunate reputation for botched plastic surgery, drug violence, and late night debauchery obscures the fact that the city and its residents also enjoy some pretty stellar health and wellness perks.

Consider that many Americans spend their annual savings to vacation in the restorative sunshine and ocean while Miamians enjoy them 365 days a year.

And eating local in South Florida means a virtual paradise for one's palette -- a steady diet of flavorful and healthy mahi-mahi, avocados, pineapple, and mango.

But it's not just the natural splendors of the tropics that give Miami a leg up on wellness.

Local governments, businesses, and social media campaigns have launched programs such as bike sharing and a sanctioned coffee break that emphasize sustainability, health, and making time for the good things in life.

Here are 14 ways Miamians can teach the rest of America about living well:

  • 1 The whole city breaks for a cafecito at 3:05 p.m.
    Cuban coffee, or cafecito, breaks have been a long-running tradition in Miami but a recent social media campaign made it official.
  • 2 Miami proves that bike-share programs work.
    Way before New York City had Citi Bike, Miamians gave up critical parking spaces to make room for DecoBike, a community bike-share program. As of March 2013, DecoBike in Miami Beach reports 2,133,530 rides and 600,000 in memberships—which they claim is more than all other US bicycle sharing programs combined.
  • 3 Miamians supersize the rest and relaxation of yoga by doing it on the beach.
    Getty Images
    Is there a better place for a sun salutation than greeting the sunrise on the sandy beach? Miamians have also been known to take their downward dogs on the water in paddleboard yoga.
  • 4 Miami believes in nap time...for all creatures.
    Blame the heat or blame all the poolside chairs -- Miami is down with regular siestas.
  • 5 Miami loves to get its sweat on.
    Getty Images
    Miami streets and causeways are full of early morning cycling teams pedaling their way to fitness. We also invented Zumba. Because why exercise when you can just salsa dance?
  • 6 Miami eats a ton of fresh, lean seafood.
    Getty Images
    Lucky for us we get ample lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids in our steady diet of fresh seafood.
  • 7 Miamians worship the sun.
    Meet Maria, 90, who comes to The Standard every evening to swim and watch the sunset.
  • 8 Miamians enjoy backyard retreats.
    (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    Miamians' backyards are their own private botanical gardens and fruit groves, meaning gorgeous Mother Nature is always steps away.
  • 9 Miami is in love with fruit.
    Getty Images
    You need only visit the Robert Is Here market in Homestead to see how seriously we take our fruit in South Florida.
  • 10 Miamians are water babies.
    Getty Images
    In addition to being an easy low-impact workout, swimming in the ocean offers plenty of health benefits from a reduction in inflammation to much-needed relaxation.
  • 11 Miami has a ton of free yoga classes.
    Getty Images
    Free yoga classes are a long-running tradition in Miami. The practice is so widespread even Miami dogs do yoga.
  • 12 Miamians enjoy staycations and a lot of them.
    With some of the best hotel and resorts around, Miamians don't have to go very far for rest and relaxation. Locals make plenty use out of pool and spa amenities at havens such as The Standard and The Biltmore Hotel.
  • 13 Miami has a different take on office space.
    It's totally appropriate to take your business outside in Miami.
  • 14 Miami uses local fruit and vegetables in everything...even cocktails.
    Getty Images
    Mixologists like Elad Zvi at The Broken Shaker use wild orchids and allspice growing in The Freehand's garden to create their signature Caribbean dram sour.