50 Cities Getting the Most Exercise

January 26, 2018 by Thomas C. Frohlich

Source: Jacob Ammentorp Lund / iStock
Nearly a month into the new year, it is time to check on those New Year’s resolutions — the most common being exercise more. No doubt, gym membership in the United States has been trending upward for at least a decade, as has the percentage of Americans who get the recommended amount of physical activity.

But so has the obesity rate. With more than a third of American adults considered obese and more than half overweight, the rising interest in getting exercise may not be surprising.

Approximately 22% of adults fail to get any exercise whatsoever outside of work. In some places, that percentage is much lower. In these cities, residents take advantage of greater access to gyms, recreation centers, and parks.

To identify the cities getting the most exercise, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of two measures — the share of adults in a metro area who are physically active during their leisure time and the share of the population who has access to areas for physical activities outside of their homes.

The most physically active metropolitan areas are clustered in certain regions. Of the 50 cities getting the most exercise, 12 are in California, four are in Colorado, and another four are in Washington state. While Western states are well-represented in cities where the population is getting healthy amounts of exercise, residents of Southern states by contrast are typically less active.

Click here to see the cities getting the most exercise.

Any amount of exercise has health benefits, and not getting any exercise at all can have serious consequences. Obesity rates in areas with active adults are notably lower than in areas with less active adults. The obesity rate is higher than the national rate of approximately 28% in only five of the 50 cities on this list.

Residents in cities that get the most exercise also tend to feel healthier. Of the 50 cities getting the most exercise, 36 have a lower share of adults reporting being in poor or fair health than the nationwide share of 15%. The opposite tends to be true in cities getting less exercise.

To determine the cities getting the most exercise, 24/7 Wall St. created an index to rank the 381 metro areas by both the share of adults who are physically active as well as the accessibility to areas of exercise. Both measures come from the most recent 2017 dataset collected by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Obesity rates — the share of residents who report a body mass index of 30 or greater — as well as the percentage of adults who report fair or poor health also come from County Health Rankings.

The 2008 federal physical activity guidelines (the latest available) recommend 2 hours 30 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, or 1 hour 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity, or a combination of these exercise forms. In addition to aerobic exercise, the federal government recommends muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate to high intensity at least two days per week.

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50. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida
> Population: 365,136
> Physically active adults: 81.5% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 91.3% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 19.5% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.1%

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49. Bremerton-Silverdale, Washington
> Population: 264,811
> Physically active adults: 82.1% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 90.3% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 29.6%
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.9% (bottom 10%)

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48. Salem, Oregon
> Population: 418,139
> Physically active adults: 84.3% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 84.9%
> Obesity rate: 34.2% (top 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.2%

Source: Rauluminate / iStock

47. Flagstaff, Arizona
> Population: 140,908
> Physically active adults: 85.8% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 81.7%
> Obesity rate: 23.2% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.1%

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46. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts
> Population: 4,794,447
> Physically active adults: 80.3% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 94.9% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 23.5% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 12.4% (bottom 25%)

Source: Thinkstock

45. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin
> Population: 1,572,482
> Physically active adults: 80.1% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 95.8% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 30.9%
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.7%

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44. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois
> Population: 9,512,968
> Physically active adults: 79.7%
> Population with access to exercise locations: 96.7% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 26.5% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 16.1%

Source: Thinkstock

43. Rochester, Minnesota
> Population: 215,884
> Physically active adults: 81.7% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 92.1% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 26.1% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 10.4% (bottom 10%)

Source: Thinkstock

42. Madison, Wisconsin
> Population: 648,929
> Physically active adults: 83.4% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 88.6% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 25.4% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.5% (bottom 10%)

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41. State College, Pennsylvania
> Population: 161,464
> Physically active adults: 83.6% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 88.1% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 26.6%
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.4% (bottom 25%)

Source: Jeff Zehnder / Shutterstock.com

40. Lawrence, Kansas
> Population: 119,440
> Physically active adults: 82.3% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 91.3% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 24.2% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.8% (bottom 10%)

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39. Provo-Orem, Utah
> Population: 602,543
> Physically active adults: 85.6% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 83.9%
> Obesity rate: 24.5% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.3% (bottom 10%)

Source: Thinkstock

38. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
> Population: 992,605
> Physically active adults: 81.3% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 94.6% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 22.3% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 12.5% (bottom 25%)

Source: Thinkstock

37. Olympia-Tumwater, Washington
> Population: 275,222
> Physically active adults: 83.4% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 89.5% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 28.1%
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.0% (bottom 25%)

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36. Bellingham, Washington
> Population: 216,800
> Physically active adults: 84.8% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 87.0%
> Obesity rate: 23.1% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 12.8% (bottom 25%)

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35. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
> Population: 214,276
> Physically active adults: 84.2% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 88.5% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 19.9% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 10.3% (bottom 10%)

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34. Lincoln, Nebraska
> Population: 326,591
> Physically active adults: 82.5% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 93.0% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 26.2% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 9.8% (bottom 10%)

Source: Thinkstock

33. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
> Population: 944,177
> Physically active adults: 81.2% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 96.8% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 21.4% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.6% (bottom 25%)

Source: Thinkstock

32. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii
> Population: 165,474
> Physically active adults: 82.5% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 93.7% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 22.4% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.8% (bottom 10%)

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31. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia
> Population: 6,133,552
> Physically active adults: 82.0% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 95.2% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 24.6% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.9% (bottom 10%)

Source: Thinkstock

30. Reno, Nevada
> Population: 457,387
> Physically active adults: 83.9% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 90.7% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 21.8% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.8%

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29. Missoula, Montana
> Population: 116,130
> Physically active adults: 84.6% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 89.1% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 22.2% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.1% (bottom 25%)

Source: Thinkstock

28. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah
> Population: 656,061
> Physically active adults: 83.8% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 91.3% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 26.9%
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.9% (bottom 10%)

Source: Thinkstock

27. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota
> Population: 3,551,036
> Physically active adults: 82.8% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 94.1% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 25.6% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 10.5% (bottom 10%)

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26. Vallejo-Fairfield, California
> Population: 440,207
> Physically active adults: 81.8% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 96.8% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 30.1%
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.5%

Source: Thinkstock

25. Bend-Redmond, Oregon
> Population: 181,307
> Physically active adults: 86.1% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 87.1%
> Obesity rate: 24.1% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 12.9% (bottom 25%)

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24. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
> Population: 849,738
> Physically active adults: 81.9% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 97.8% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 20.3% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.1%

Source: Thinkstock

23. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
> Population: 2,056,405
> Physically active adults: 83.9% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 93.4% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 24.0% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.1%

Source: PaaschPhotography / iStock

22. Carson City, Nevada
> Population: 54,742
> Physically active adults: 82.8% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 96.4% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 24.6% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 17.1%

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21. Salt Lake City, Utah
> Population: 1,186,187
> Physically active adults: 83.8% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 94.3% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 25.7% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 12.7% (bottom 25%)

Source: Thinkstock

20. Ann Arbor, Michigan
> Population: 364,709
> Physically active adults: 84.7% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 92.0% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 24.4% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 12.4% (bottom 10%)

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19. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California
> Population: 282,887
> Physically active adults: 85.9% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 89.2% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 24.5% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.8%

Source: Thinkstock

18. Santa Fe, New Mexico
> Population: 148,651
> Physically active adults: 89.5% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 80.6%
> Obesity rate: 13.7% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 16.5%

Source: Thinkstock

17. Napa, California
> Population: 142,166
> Physically active adults: 84.0% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 93.9% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 23.7% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.1%

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16. Eugene, Oregon
> Population: 369,519
> Physically active adults: 85.4% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 91.1% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 27.4%
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.5%

Source: Thinkstock

15. Colorado Springs, Colorado
> Population: 712,327
> Physically active adults: 84.5% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 93.3% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 22.2% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.3% (bottom 25%)

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14. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California
> Population: 13,310,447
> Physically active adults: 82.8% (top 25%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 97.8% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 21.0% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.2%

Source: Toribio93 / Shutterstock.com

13. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, California
> Population: 2,296,418
> Physically active adults: 83.6% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 95.9% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 25.5% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.7%

Source: Thinkstock

12. Corvallis, Oregon
> Population: 89,385
> Physically active adults: 88.0% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 86.0%
> Obesity rate: 21.6% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.1%

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11. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
> Population: 3,798,902
> Physically active adults: 84.5% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 95.5% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 25.5% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.4% (bottom 10%)

Source: Thinkstock

10. San Diego-Carlsbad, California
> Population: 3,317,749
> Physically active adults: 84.4% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 96.1% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 19.1% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.9%

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9. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
> Population: 4,679,166
> Physically active adults: 83.9% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 98.6% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 20.6% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.6% (bottom 10%)

Source: Thinkstock

8. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon
> Population: 2,425,325
> Physically active adults: 85.8% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 95.4% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 24.8% (bottom 25%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 13.4% (bottom 25%)

Source: Thinkstock

7. Santa Rosa, California
> Population: 503,070
> Physically active adults: 86.2% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 94.7% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 20.9% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.0%

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6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
> Population: 1,978,816
> Physically active adults: 84.7% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 98.2% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 19.6% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 11.7% (bottom 10%)

Source: Thinkstock

5. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
> Population: 446,170
> Physically active adults: 86.0% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 95.6% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 18.2% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 18.4% (top 25%)

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4. Fort Collins, Colorado
> Population: 339,993
> Physically active adults: 87.7% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 92.1% (top 25%)
> Obesity rate: 18.7% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 10.0% (bottom 10%)

Source: Thinkstock

3. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
> Population: 274,673
> Physically active adults: 86.7% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 96.1% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 20.2% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 15.7%

Source: Thinkstock

2. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado
> Population: 2,853,077
> Physically active adults: 86.2% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 97.9% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 19.8% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 12.8% (bottom 25%)

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1. Boulder, Colorado
> Population: 322,226
> Physically active adults: 91.3% (top 10%)
> Population with access to exercise locations: 97.7% (top 10%)
> Obesity rate: 13.4% (bottom 10%)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 10.8% (bottom 10%)