Special Report

The 25 Best Cities for Active People

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25. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania
> Adults who exercise regularly: 77.5% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 3.6% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 27.8% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 16.4% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $74,533 (national average: $65,712)

Adults living in the broader Philadelphia metro area are more likely to regularly engage in physical activity than the typical American adult. Metro area residents benefit from an environment that is conducive to exercise, as Philadelphia ranks among the top five most walkable cities in the United States, according to WalkScore.com. Additionally, nearly 93% of the population lives in close proximity to areas for physical recreation, such as gyms, parks, or recreation centers.

Regular exercise can make it easier to maintain a healthy weight, and in Philadelphia, only 27.8% of the adult population is obese, compared to 29.0% of adult Americans nationwide.

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24. Fort Collins, Colorado
> Adults who exercise regularly: 86.9% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 2.6% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 20.2% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 11.7% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $75,186 (national average: $65,712)

Fort Collins, Colorado is home to one of the most physically active populations in the country. Nearly 87% of adults in the metro area exercise, a larger share than in all but three other U.S. metro areas and well above the 76.7% share of adults nationwide who do.

Fort Collins residents also benefit from having access to places for physical activity. An estimated 92.8% of the population lives in close proximity to places like parks and recreation centers, well above the 84.2% share of the population nationwide.

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23. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois
> Adults who exercise regularly: 79.1% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 3.0% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 29.0% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 16.2% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $75,379 (national average: $65,712)

One of the most walkable and most bike-friendly cities in the country, Chicago has a lot to offer those who lead physically active lifestyles. An estimated 97.4% of residents of the broader Chicago metro area have easy access to places like gyms, parks, and recreation centers, a far larger share than the 84.2% share of the population nationwide.

Metro area residents also appear likely to take advantage of these opportunities, as 79.1% of the local adult population reports regular physical activity, compared to 76.7% of adults nationwide.

22. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, California
> Adults who exercise regularly: 85.6% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 2.9% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 20.3% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 14.5% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $83,985 (national average: $65,712)

Few U.S. metro areas have populations who are as physically active as San Diego. More than 85% of adults in the metro area report regular physical activity, about 9 percentage points above the national physical activity rate.

The active lifestyles in the metro area may be attributable in part to environmental circumstances. Not only does San Diego have warm and moderate weather year round, but also 97.0% of residents have easy access to places like gyms and parks, one of the largest such shares of any U.S. metro area.

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21. Ann Arbor, Michigan
> Adults who exercise regularly: 84.7% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 7.1% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.5% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 11.9% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $76,576 (national average: $65,712)

Ann Arbor is the only metropolitan area in Michigan to rank on this list. The city is among the most pedestrian friendly in the country, as 7.1% of commuters walk to their job, well more than double the 2.6% share of workers nationwide who do. Additionally, about nine in every 10 Ann Arbor residents have easy access to places like recreation centers and parks, a larger share than the 84.2% of Americans nationwide who do.

With walkable streets and easy access to parks and gyms, it is perhaps not surprising that Ann Arbor residents generally lead active lifestyles. Nearly 85% of adults in the metro area report regular exercise, compared to about 77% of American adults nationwide.

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