America’s Most Fitness-Friendly Cities For 2016


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People all over the U.S. make New Year’s resolutions to lead a healthier lifestyle. But where in the country they live may be a factor in whether they succeed or fail. Only 8 percent actually reach their goal. Most people give up after a few weeks of trying.

SmartAsset, which specialize in helping people achieve difficult goals such as homeownership and early retirement, “wanted to help users” succeed in keeping their resolutions, according to Nick Wallace, the company’s data editor, who was part of that team that conducted a research on the Most Fitness-Friendly Cities in America for a second year in a row.

The researchers studies 300 of the country’s largest metro areas. They calculated he number of fitness professionals, the number of gyms and rec centers, the average hourly wage of personal trainers and the number of fast food joints in each city, and analyzed the results.

These are the places that make it easiest for you to stick to your health goals.

1. Missoula, Montana

After ranking fourth in last year’s study, Missoula moves into the top spot for 2016. The city’s proximity to a multitude of national parks and forests means there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including mountain climbing, kayaking, rock climbing and trail running.

2. Boulder, Colorado

The top-ranked city in 2015, Boulder once again ranks in the top two. It lost its hold in the top spot largely because of the relatively high price of personal fitness trainers in the area. The average hourly income for fitness trainers in Boulder is $21.87, which ranks as the 30th highest of the 293 cities in SmartAsset’s study. Plus, temptations in Boulder are scarce. Fast food joints account for just 35% of the city’s restaurants, 22nd lowest of the areas in our study.

3. Corvallis, Oregon

One of the easiest ways to get in shape is by walking or biking to work. It could be hard to plan for that because of distance, weather or a lack of infrastructure. Not Corvallis – 17 percent of commuters in the city get to work by either walking or biking. That’s the highest rate of any city in SmartAsset’s study.

4. Bend, Oregon

This central Oregon city once again ranks as among the top 10 most fitness-friendly cities in America, moving up two spots from last year’s ranking. Along with a high number of fitness outfitters, Bend has the 13th highest concentration of fitness professionals of any U.S. city.

5. San Luis Obispo, California

Located 11 miles from the Pacific Ocean in hilly central California, San Luis Obispo ranks as the fifth best place to get in shape in 2016. When the sun is shining (which it usually is), the Nine Sisters chain of mountains offers the perfect set of day hikes, ranging from relatively short and easy to difficult. San Luis Obispo also has a very low concentration of unhealthy dining options. Just 35 percent of restaurants in the area qualify as fast food.

6. Madison, Wisconsin

Downtown Madison is situated between two large lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. In the summer these provide the perfect arena for kayaking, sailing and other watersports. Winter activities include cross country skiing, ice hockey and, for the truly adventurous, snowkiting.

7. Bellingham, Washington

The home of the famous Ski to Sea Race once again ranks as a top 10 city for fitness-friendliness. Skiers can take advantage of some of the snowiest slopes in America on nearby Mount Baker and the region is home to a number of large parks that are perfect for hiking or running.

8. State College, Pennsylvania

Home to Penn State University, State College is a place that loves athletics. The city has a large population of fitness experts, ranking 21st in the study for its concentration of fitness professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 220 fitness trainers and aerobics instructors working in State College.

9. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston rates as the most fitness-friendly big city in the country. It compares favorably to places like New York City (which ranked 115th) and Chicago (which ranked 242nd). There are over 5,300 fitness trainers and aerobics instructors in Boston. Likewise, the area is home to more than 800 recreation and fitness centers.

10. Fort Collins, Colorado

Training for a marathon requires strenuous exercise over the course of many weeks. Setting the goal of completing the 26.2-mile race can therefore be a great way to push oneself into a healthier lifestyle. Runners can stretch their legs on any of the region’s many trails or hit the treadmill at one of the 43 recreation and fitness centers in Fort Collins.

This is the complete ranking:

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