College—some say it’s the best four years of your life, others say you won’t remember most of it, but only one thing is for sure—college is the first big pillar of adult independence. Heading off to school is the initial opportunity for young adults to get out on their own and start making those big decisions that will lay the foundation for their future.
If students want to prepare for a long healthy life, or that epic co-ed pool party, they’ll need to make exercise a habit and adopt a healthy diet. Surviving solely on late night pizza runs and kegs of beer might be the easier option, but it certainly isn’t the healthiest. And skipping multiple trips to the gym due to intense hangovers won’t bring the greatest results, either.
Luckily, the first major choice students make is in selecting their college and it’s clear some campuses offer a better shot at fitness success than others.
Everything from amenities offered at the campus gym to the climate of the area can affect the fitness of a campus. Professional dietary advice, proximity to outdoor recreation and campus-wide programs all contribute to the well-being of the campus population, too. For our ranking, we considered those factors and others: the number, success and involvement of sports programs (both varsity and intramural), the quality of athletic facilities, the healthfulness of campus dining options, quality of life ratings and, this year, we did something different. While other lists leave off the military schools, as ours did last year, this year we let the military institutions duke it out with the other four year universities up for consideration.
We also broadened the scope of colleges considered this year, looking at data on more than 100 of America’s top colleges and universities. Read on to see which colleges are the fittest in America.
#50 University of Delaware— Newark, Del.
Just because the University of Delaware doesn’t have the most active varsity sports program or all organic dining options, doesn’t mean that the student body doesn’t know what it means to be fit “Most students take advantage of some aspect of athletics, whether in team form or on their own, and the gym is always crowded at peak hours,” one student wrote on College Prowler. Speaking of the gym, the school’s new fitness center features three floors equipped with almost every type of exercise amenity you could imagine, including cardio machines, a variety of weight training tools, an indoor track and a wide range of group exercise classes to choose from. As if that weren’t enough, the campus also houses its own ice arena, outdoor pool and tennis and volleyball courts.
#49 Massachusetts Institute of Technology—Cambridge, Mass.
Certainly one of the toughest universities when it comes to the admissions process, students at MIT are equally as driven in achieving their fitness goals. Though varsity teams aren’t ranked among the best in the nation, MIT does have one of the broadest intercollegiate programs in the U.S. The PE requirement ensures students are involved in either two seasons of a varsity sport or four PE classes and there’s no shortage of intramural sports to choose from at MIT.
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