Some cities just make it easy to be fit. Parks everywhere, easy access to bike paths, clean air and the whole bit. This year, Arlington, Virginia claims the number-one spot as the Fittest City, according to the 2019 American Fitness Index, compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem foundation.
The report ranks 100 cities not by residents’ body fat percentages or VO2max; the investigators look at 33 different indicators of how fit the city is, factoring in facets of individual health—like how often people exercise and whether they report that they’re in good or excellent health—and including community health indicators as well, like how close you live to a park, your proximity to fresh fruits and vegetables, and recreational facilities in the area.
The top-ranked “fittest” cities of 2019:
- Arlington, VA
- Seattle, WA
- Minneapolis, MN
- San Francisco, CA
- Madison, WI
- Washington, DC
- St. Paul, MN
- Irvine, CA
- Denver, CO
- Portland, OR
This year, investigators upped the ante of what it took to get to the top of the Fitness Index by adding new factors into the equation. They looked at pedestrian fatalities—watch where you walk in St. Louis, MO, Albuquerque, NM, and St. Petersburg, FL; the cities with the highest rates. Also in the mix: “bikeability” (how easy it is to bike there) and air quality (bad air quality discourages outdoor activity. Find out how to breathe cleaner air, even if your city’s a little dirty).
Before you pack up and move to Arlington, remember that all the factors that can bias you to get fit won’t do the whole job. Even in that city, only 32.9 percent of people met the aerobic strength and activity guidelines for Americans. But that’s fixable: Get inspired and get your next great gym routine here.