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The most fit cities to live in America … and some are surprising


U.S. Army | Flickr CC by 2.0

Cynthia Dermody - published on 05/19/18

The top five cities have one thing in common that we can copy no matter where we live.

The American College of Sports Medicine released its annual American Fitness Index for 2018, ranking the top 100 of the nation’s largest cities for fitness and health. While there may be some newbies on the list (mixed with some of the usual repeats), the bigger surprise might be that the fittest cities are ones that encourage community wellness. Nothing against personal fitness and the Peleton mentality — that’s important too and did figure into the survey — but clearly the towns that encourage interaction with others through parks, communal activities, and pedestrian transit pop to the top of the fit scale.

No matter where you live, the message is: Don’t just cue up a workout video — call a friend, grab a lonely neighbor, or recruit the whole family and get outside moving and doing together.

Here’s a countdown of the Top 5 Fittest Cities. You can get more info on the annual survey, see where your city falls, and find out how they were ranked here on the ACSM’s website.

5. Portland, Oregon

Eighty-five percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park — it also has the most dog parks in the nation, so your favorite pet can stay in shape too.

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4. Madison, Wisconsin

More than three-quarters of people report over 7 hours of sleep per day — maybe that’s because they’re tired from all those parks. This city counted more parks, playgrounds and public basketball courts than any other.

3. Washington, DC

Our capital wins for most farmers markets in the nation, and not only are residents bonding over fresh, local produce, 20 percent of them are also walking or biking to work regularly.

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lots of farmers markets, walkers, parks and baseball diamonds contribute to the fit and healthy lifestyle in this city within the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

1.  Arlington, Virginia

Only 6 percent of the population smokes, compared to the national average of 15 percent. Arlingtonians are socializing in much more active and positive ways, as 64 percent report being in excellent or good health.

Health and Wellness
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