Special Report

The 25 Best Cities for Active People

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10. New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York
> Adults who exercise regularly: 74.9% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 5.9% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.3% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 16.8% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $83,160 (national average: $65,712)

New York City ranks as the most walkable city and one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. The metro area has much to offer to people who like to be physically active. An estimated 97.5% of residents have easy access to places like gyms, parks, and recreation areas, significantly more than the 84.2% share of the population nationwide. Additionally, about 5.9% of workers walk to work, almost double the share of workers in the U.S. as a whole.

Despite the abundance of opportunities, only 74.9% of residents exercise regularly, slightly less than the national share of 76.7%. Some 16.8% of adults who live in the metro area report being in poor health, in line with the national average of 17.2%.

Source: Tim Kiser / Wikimedia Commons

9. Ames, Iowa
> Adults who exercise regularly: 82.8% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 7.2% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 26.2% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 12.5% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $62,181 (national average: $65,712)

The Ames metro area is the only one in Iowa to rank among the best in the country for people with active lifestyles. Ames boasts a relatively high concentration of places like parks and recreation centers, when adjusting for population.

About 93.1% of the population has easy access to a gym or another facility for physical activity, compared to 84.2% of the U.S. population. This may help explain, at least in part, the larger share of adults in Ames exercising regularly than the national average.

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8. Missoula, Montana
> Adults who exercise regularly: 83.3% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 5.2% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 22.2% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 13.9% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $57,347 (national average: $65,712)

Workers of the broader Missoula metro area are twice as likely to walk to work than the typical American commuter. Additionally, people may benefit from having easy access to places for physical activity. About 92.6% of the city population lives close to gyms, parks, and recreation centers, more than the national share of 84.2%.

Regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight. In Missoula, about 22.2% of adult residents are obese, compared to 29.0% of American nationwide.

Source: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images News via Getty Images

7. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado
> Adults who exercise regularly: 85.1% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 2.1% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 21.7% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 12.4% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $85,641 (national average: $65,712)

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood is one of three metropolitan areas in Colorado to rank on this list. The metro area is among the top five most bike-friendly cities in the country. However, Denver is one of five cities on this list where a smaller share of the workers population walks to work, compared to the rest of the U.S. as a whole. An estimated 96.6% of metro area residents have easy access to places for physical activity, far more than the 84.2% share of the population nationwide.

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood residents may be making the most of this opportunity, as 85.1% of adults report regularly exercising, compared to 76.7% of adults nationwide.

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6. Corvallis, Oregon
> Adults who exercise regularly: 86.8% (national average: 76.7% )
> Workers who walk to their jobs: 8.1% (national average: 2.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.9% (national average: 29.0%)
> Adults in poor or fair health: 13.6% (national average: 17.2%)
> Median household income: $70,835 (national average: $65,712)

Corvallis is one of two Oregon metro areas to rank among the 25 best U.S. cities for active people. Workers in the area are more than three times as likely to walk to work than the typical worker nationwide. Metro area residents also take advantage of their easy access to places for physical activity. About 90.3% of residents live close to parks, gyms, or recreation centers, compared to 84.2% of people nationwide.

Maintaining an active lifestyle can help in maintaining a healthy weight, and in Corvallis, 24.9% of adults are obese, compared to 29.0% of American adults in the U.S. as a whole.

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