Special Report

The Fitness Capital of Every State

Detailed Findings

Many of the most physically active cities in the country are on the West Coast. The state with the highest activity rate is Colorado, where 84.9% of adults exercise regularly. Other active states include Oregon, Washington, Utah, and California.

Meanwhile, the Southern U.S. is home to many of the most inactive states. In Mississippi, just 66.0% of adults exercise regularly, the smallest share of any state. States with the lowest activity rates also include Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.

In some of the less healthy parts of the country, even the most active city is relatively sedentary compared to the U.S. as a whole. While the Weirton-Steubenville metro area has the highest activity rate in West Virginia, for example, just 70.0% of city adults exercise regularly, well below the 77.0% national figure. Other cities which, despite ranking number one in their state, have lower activity rates than the nation as a whole include Dover, Delaware; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; New Orleans, Louisiana; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Providence, Rhode Island; New York, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Daphne, Alabama; Casper, Wyoming; and Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Active populations need access to venues for physical activities, such as parks, gyms, and recreation centers. In 38 of the 50 most active cities in the country, a greater share of residents have access to venues for physical activity than the 83.0% national figure.

Exercise is one of the primary determinants of overall health. Adults who exercise more are far more likely to maintain other healthy habits, and less likely be obese or die prematurely. The obesity rate in 46 of the 50 most physically active cities is below the 28.0% national figure. Similarly, the premature death rates in all 50 of the most active cities rank in the lower half of all metro areas.


To identify the fitness capital of every state, 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 have access to venues for physical activities outside of their homes. Information on leisure time physical activity, access to exercise locations, obesity rates, and adults who report being in fair or poor health comes from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Population figures come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and are for 2016.