Top 10 Fittest Cities Revealed: How Does Yours Shape Up? (PHOTOS)

Maressa Brown | May 30, 2013 Healthy Living

san francisco marathonIn our efforts to be a fitter country, we're constantly pointing fingers at junk food and our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Of course those factors matter, but where we live can often contribute to how healthy we are, too. Consider whether our cities offer access to health care, parks to run in, recreational facilities to work out in, walking trails to hike, or farmers' markets where residents can buy fresh produce. Those factors and more were exactly what compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine -- looked at to come up with the annual American Fitness Index. AKA a rundown of the top fittest cities.

Here, the top 10 ... See if your city made the cut!


Image via eduardopilopilous/Flickr

  • 10. San Jose

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    Image via the_tahoe_guy/Flickr

    This Cali city made the cut by having more farmers' markets per capita, higher percentage of people eating 5+ fruits/veggies a day, and lots of parks. 

  • 9. Hartford

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    Image via juliejordanscott/Flickr

    A high percent of Hartford-ites are at least moderately physically active, and they've also got more ball diamonds, tennis courts, park units, rec centers, and swimming pools per capita.

  • 8. Seattle

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    Image via LeoAlmighty/Flickr

    My sister used to live in the Emerald City, and I'd always be jealous hearing about her lush, green surroundings and mild weather, which really do seem to lend themselves to getting outside and staying fit! Turns out the city wins points for having more people use public transportation, bike or walk to work, or have a dog park to head out to per capita.

  • 7. Sacramento

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    Image via Dan Harrelson/Flickr

    More park playgrounds per capita, biking and walking to work, dog parks, ball diamonds, and rec centers got Sacramento into the top 10.

  • 6. Boston

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    Having health insurance (thanks, Romneycare!) and farmers' markets as well as a higher percentage of the city as parkland makes Bostonians more fit. 

  • 5. Denver

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    Image via seanklein/Flickr

    With more people per capita more physically active (at least moderately) and loads of parks, it's no wonder people living in Denver have a lower rate of death from diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

  • 4. San Francisco

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    Image via philliecasbalanca/Flickr

    Known for its crazy steep hills, it almost seems impossible to NOT be fit living -- and walking! -- in this city. But SF also scored points for having fewer people who are smokers, a high percentage of the city as parkland, and more primary care health providers per capita, etc.

  • 3. Portland

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    Image via Moyan_Brenn/Flickr

    They may be teased for having the most organic, CSA-lovin' hipsters per capita, but "Portlandia" also boasts lots of farmers' markets, folks who bike or walk or take public transportation to work, golf courses, tennis courts, ball diamonds, and dog parks galore.

  • 2. Washington, D.C.

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    Image via IntangibleArts/Flickr

    Having more dog parks per capita, swimming pools, and other park areas is just the beginning of healthy pros our nation's capital has going for it. D.C. residents also boast a lower percent of days when mental health was not good over the past 30 days!

  • 1. Minneapolis

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    Image via Jason Riedy/Flickr

    Minneapolis made it to the top slot by putting "their resources where residents can use them effectively to maintain a high level of physical activity," says Walt Thompson, chairman of the advisory board who created the index and a professor of exercise physiology at Georgia State University in Atlanta. They also did better than other cities by spending double the amount of money on parks per capita ($227 a person) as some other cities.

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