Special Report

The 25 Best Cities for Active People

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15. State College, Pennsylvania
> Adults who exercise regularly: 81.9% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 8.9% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 25.2% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 15.3% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $60,706 (national average: $65,712)

State College, Pennsylvania, is one of the most pedestrian friendly metro areas in the United States. An estimated 8.9% of workers commute to their job by walking, more than three times the 2.6% share of workers nationwide who do. The city’s walkability likely contributes to the larger than average share of adults in the area who report physically active lifestyles.

Regular exercise can have a multitude of health benefits, including greater likelihood of maintaining a healthy weight. In State College, only about a quarter of adults are obese, compared to 29% of adults nationwide.

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14. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon
> Adults who exercise regularly: 84.5% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 3.3% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.1% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 13.4% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $78,439 (national average: $65,712)

Portland is one of two metro areas in Oregon to rank on this list. The city ranks as one of the most walkable in the United States and is also regularly cited as one of the top cities for cyclists in the country. In addition, an estimated 94.3% of those living in the broader Portland metro area have easy access to places like parks and recreation centers for exercise — compared to only about 84.2% of Americans nationwide who do.

Walkable, bikeable, and full of amenities like parks, Portland is also home to a relatively physically active population. Nearly 85% of adults in the metro area report regular physical activity — compared to about 77% of adults nationwide who do.

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13. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
> Adults who exercise regularly: 82.3% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 2.5% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 21.3% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 10.6% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $97,053 (national average: $65,712)

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk is the only metro area in Connecticut to make this list. One of the reasons the city ranks on this list is the area’s large share of residents who live near places for physical activity. And many appear to be taking advantage of this opportunity as over 82% report exercising regularly, much higher than the nearly 77% of American adults.

Regular exercise can greatly improve overall well-being. The metro area’s adult obesity rate is 21.3%, far lower than the national rate of 29.0%. Additionally, just 10.6% of adults report being in poor or fair health, a far smaller share than the 17.2% of Americans who do.

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12. Lincoln, Nebraska
> Adults who exercise regularly: 82.2% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 3.3% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.8% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 13.5% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $61,539 (national average: $65,712)

Lincoln is the only metro area in Nebraska to make the list of the best U.S. cities for people who lead a physically active lifestyle. This is largely due to the area’s higher than average concentration of fitness and recreational sports centers per 100,000 residents.

Adults in Lincoln are more likely to exercise regularly than the typical American adult, and staying physically active can benefit overall well-being and improve mental health. In Lincoln, only 16.7% of residents have been diagnosed with depression, less than the 19.7% share of adults nationwide.

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11. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
> Adults who exercise regularly: 84.4% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 4.0% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 26.1% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 12.8% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $94,027 (national average: $65,712)

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue is one of the most walkable and bike-friendly metro areas in the country. The area’s walkability and accessible places for physical activity such as gyms, urban parks, and recreational facilities may contribute to the larger than the national average share of adults who exercise on a regular basis.

Regular exercise may help people stay healthy, and in the larger Seattle metropolitan area, just 12.8% of adults report being in poor or fair health, a smaller share than the 17.2% of adults nationwide who report similar health.

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