#25 Salt Lake City, Utah from America's 25 Fittest Cities
America's 25 Fittest Cities
#25 Salt Lake City, Utah
Ski mecca Salt Lake City has more to offer than snowy slopes, hiking and biking are also major outdoor recreation focuses of the community. In 2010 the League of American Bicyclists named Salt Lake City in the top 18 bike-friendly cities in the U.S. Whether it be cycling, skiing or any of the other outlets Salt Lake City offers, they rank high on our list for exercise and have a low number of smokers in their population.
#24 Lawrence, Kan.
From the Eagle Bend golf course to the Prairie Park Nature Center and a local aquatic center to community strength training classes, the city of Lawrence steps up to the plate when it comes to providing its inhabitants with opportunities to embrace health and fitness. Thanks to its rank as our 11th least obese city and a population that exhibits healthy blood pressure levels, Lawrence easily crept up among our ratings to earn a spot on our list.
#23 Durham, N.C.
The name of this city's Parks and Recreation Blog says it best: “Get Outdoors, Durham!” The city offers parks, trails and waterways for outdoor recreation and calls on residents to help with the upkeep. All that community service could be the reason Durham ranks well in exercise and residents rank high in the healthy weight category.
#22 Ogden, Utah
One of our cities with the least amount of smokers and a high well being index, Ogden also snagged a spot on our list because it shares the common thread that seems to be a determining factor for most of our fit cities: a variety of easily accessible outdoor activities like hiking, rafting, bouldering, kayaking, and skiing.
#21 Boston, Mass.
Home to one of the world's most famous marathons, Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and the largest city in the state. The city rich in history can also claim ownership of the oldest public park in the U.S., Boston Common. In 2013,The Trust for Public Land named Boston as third on its list of 50 populous cities with the best park systems.
#20 Sacramento, Calif.
Another city that offers a wide range of opportunities for it’s occupants to move more outdoors, Sacramento is home to a large park system that offers not only plenty of open space, but several indoor recreation centers too. It’s also considered one of the country’s most walkable cities and the popular bike path along the American River parkway is used for leisure and commuting purposes by much of the population.
#19 Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks is well known for cross country skiing and recently hosted the 2014 Arctic Winter Games. This city ranks well in strength training and meets national fitness guidelines, which should come as no surprise to those familiar with rugged Alaskan ways.
#18 Minneapolis—St. Paul, Minn.
According to the consulted sources, this metro area earned its spot on our list thanks to a population that boasts exceptional general health and wellbeing. Additionally, The American College of Sports Medicine ranked Minneapolis–Saint Paul as the number one healthiest metropolitan area in the U.S. in 2011 and 2012.
#17 Burlington, Vt.
Burlington scored high in general health according to our ratings, and it’s not hard to see why.The largest city in the state of Vermont, Burlington is best known for easy access to some of the best skiing on the East Coast. But Burlington is so much more than skiing, the community is dedicated to fitness. The city sits on the coast of Lake Champlain, which provides access to water sports and extensive bike paths are available for cyclists, too.
#16 Colorado Springs, Colo.
The data doesn’t lie. A high majority of our nation’s healthiest individuals have situated themselves in the state of Colorado. Colorado Springs tied with Lawrence, Kan. as our 11th least obese city and also ranked high because a high percentage of locals meet physical activity guidelines and incorporate strength training in their fitness routines. Naturally, a fit-minded city like this makes an ideal home for the United States Olympic Training Center, and with more 9,000 acres of parks, 500 acres of trails, and 5,000 acres of open space it’s no wonder so many people who place a high value on physical activity would flock to an area with so many opportunities for spending time outside.
#15 Bethesda, Md.
Bethesda, well known for it’s investment in the arts, makes a great place to live for fitness junkies. The community regularly hosts fitness events and there is easy access to fitness centers. The city’s investment in fitness shows in the high general health ranking and the low number of smoking citizens.
#14 Missoula, Mont.
Missoula is our fourth least overweight city, and with a seemingly endless list of outdoor activities surrounding the area, it’s really not hard to see how residents of this northwestern city stay active and engaged with the outdoors all year long. From snow sports in the winter to everything from swimming, fishing, and hunting in the summer, Missoula is one of the country’s top havens for all types of outdoor enthusiasts. Plus with programs like the Missoula Movers geared at getting even more locals involved in physical activity we have no doubt that this Montana city rightfully earned its spot on our list.
#13 San Diego, Calif.
Swimmers and surfers flock to San Diego beaches to claim their own piece of the Pacific, but the ocean isn’t the only way residents get their exercise in. Mission Trails Regional Park sits on more than 5,000 acres and is a prime spot for running, hiking and camping. With these resources, it’s no wonder San Diego ranked high for exercise.
#12 Honolulu, Hawaii
Capital of the Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu is known for year-round warm weather which lends its inhabitants with plenty of time to spend on outdoor activities. As host to large yearly sporting events like The Honolulu Marathon, Ironman Hawaii, the Honolulu Triathlon, and The Great Aloha Run it’s no secret that the city favors fitness. Healthy food is a priority too; the city’s People’s Open Market program has provided locals with low-cost access to fresh produce at 25 different market sites for more than 40 years.
#11 Washington, D.C.
This bustling metro area offers residents fantastic access to fitness centers and programs while maintaining parks and outdoor recreation areas. The population ranks well in overall health, wellbeing and, somewhat surprisingly, our data reveals that DC locals report low levels of stress.
#10 Denver, Colo.
Of course it came as not much of a surprise that Boulder topped off our list of fittest cities, and it’s no shocker that Denver follows not far behind. While Denver may not boast statistics as stellar as it’s more rural sister city, it still managed to just snag a spot in our top ten because locals have a knack for being active and only a relatively small percentage of the population is considered overweight or obese.
#9 Logan, Utah
Logan Canyon offers the opportunity for almost any outdoor activity: hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, climbing, snowmobiling and even skiing when the weather is right. What the canyon cannot offer, the Logan Aquatic Center does. A 50-meter lap pool, a diving pool and in-pool fitness classes round out the city’s total fitness experience.
#8 San Francisco, Calif.
On top of ideal outdoor weather almost all year round, San Francisco residents have unbelievably easy access to a seemingly endless list of outdoor activities. The city boasts over 200 miles of bike paths, opportunities for almost every type of water sport including windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing, and plenty of room for just about any other sport in the ever popular Golden Gate Park which sprawls over more than 1,000 acres. With credentials like this it’s no wonder The City by the Bay earned the number four spot in our exercise category.
#7 San Jose, Calif.
San Jose hit the trifecta. The city ranked high in exercise, high in general well being and low in stress. The city website offers listings of exercise classes, which might account for the stress-free population and probably helped boost the exercise rating, too.
#6 Cambridge, Mass.
With the number five rank in our general health status category, Cambridge gets a good health grade thanks to a population that demonstrates low rates of smoking and healthy cholesterol levels. The city is also currently engaged in a campaign called “Cambridge in Motion,” which aims to offer locals access to more farmers markets and grocery stores that promote wholesome foods, improve the nutritional value of food served in public schools, and increase the number of opportunities for physical activity both in the community and workplace.
#5 Fort Collins, Colo.
Money Magazine named Fort Collins the number one best place to live in the U.S. in 2006. The city made the list again in 2008 and 2010, but this picturesque city has more to offer than looks alone. Fort Collins ranked best on our list for exercise and second best for strength training specifically.
#4 Santa Fe, N.M.
New Mexico’s capital city rates second in the U.S. in our rankings for meeting the national guidelines for physical activity. The area provides access to a large number of outdoor activities like 170 miles of trails for hiking and biking, more than 60 developed city parks complete with swimming pools, tennis courts, and playgrounds (just to name a few features), and plenty more sports like golf and even skiing available close by.
#3 Santa Ana-Anaheim, Calif.
Local parks and beaches a short drive away make Santa Ana a health nut haven. Much of the population maintains a healthy weight and very few residents smoke. Most notably, Santa Ana ranked as the least stressed city on our list—must be the calming sound of the ocean wave, or maybe all those exercise endorphins.
#2 Provo-Orem, Utah
The third largest metropolitan area in Utah, Provo-Orem earned our number two spot thanks to low smoking and drinking rates and a population that boasts the least instances of high blood pressure among all our ranked cities. Plus, the area is home to an array of biking and hiking trails, a brand new, state of the art recreation center, and easy access to Provo and Rock Canyons making it the perfect play place for outdoor enthusiasts and fitness fanatics alike.
#1 Boulder, Colo.
What elements make Boulder the fittest city? More than 45,000 acres of carefully preserved nature, some of the best climbing in the country and hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails certainly factor into the formula. The nearly constant sunshine doesn't hurt either, and so it’s not surprising to find out that Boulder’s population ranked first on our list for most people of healthy weight, highest general wellness, and a large majority of locals who meets national fitness guidelines.