Earlier this year, a panel of nationally recognized experts in the fields of physical activity and public health convened to determine recommended physical activity guidelines for all Americans. Several new health benefits related to exercise have come to light since the committee last met in 2008, including improved cognitive functioning in children, decreased risk of certain cancers, and reduced feelings of anxiety and depression in adults.
By the standards laid out in the latest federal physical activity guidelines, many Americans are not getting enough exercise. While the federal activity guidelines recommend at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, some 23.0% of U.S. adults engage in no physical activity outside of work whatsoever. Exercise habits can vary considerably by geography, however, from state to state and even city to city.
To determine the fitness capital of every state, 24/7 Wall St. ranked metro areas based on the share of adults who are physically active during their leisure time and the share of the population with access to venues for physical activity outside of their homes. We used data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.