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Best and worst U.S. cities for an active lifestyle

With “lose weight and exercise more” will invariably appear on the list of many people’s New Year’s resolutions. However, this is equally one of the first resolutions to be ditched (and often within January). The sticking with or dropping the exercise commitment does not appear to be solely down to willpower. Another factor appears to be a regional effect. Whether this relates to peer pressure, the number of fitness centers, or to some other factor is debatable;e. Nonetheless, there are regional differences. Taking the U.S. as an example, the personal-finance website WalletHub discussed these variances. The company has released a report on 2019’s “Best & Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle”.

In order to determine where U.S. citizens have the best chance of balancing factors like a healthy diet with sufficient physical activity, WalletHub undertook and exercise that compared the 100 biggest U.S. cities across 38 identified metrics. The data set for the metrics ranges from average monthly fitness-club fee to bike score to share of physically inactive adults.

The outcome was that the best cities for an active lifestyle, with Honolulu positioned at the top, are:

Honolulu, HI
Chicago, IL
San Francisco, CA
Portland, OR
Seattle, WA
Minneapolis, MN
Washington, DC
Denver, CO
San Diego, CA
Madison, WI

In contrast, the worst cities for such an active lifestyle are, in descending order:

Memphis, TN
Garland, TX
Toledo, OH
Wichita, KS
Arlington, TX
Fresno, CA
Irving, TX
Bakersfield, CA
North Las Vegas, NV
Hialeah, FL

This means that Hialeah in Florida comes bottom of the list.

The following video provides an overview of how the data was compiled:

Outside of the top and bottom positions on the list, there are some interesting items of data that can be extracted from the survey. For instance, New York has the most sporting-goods stores (per square root of population) at 0.4395. This is 12.5 times more than in North Las Vegas, Nevada, the city with the fewest at 0.0351. Taking one outside activity, Gilbert, Arizona, has the most public golf courses (per square root of population) at 0.0809; which is 40.5 times more than in Laredo, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.0020.

Promoting outdoor spaces is important, according to Susan G. Zieff., from San Francisco State University, who told WalletHub: “Effective strategies include bike lanes, open space/parks, sidewalks and lighting. Increasing safety in neighborhoods and providing destinations such as parks will encourage people to be more active. City government departments (e.g. Planning, Transportation, Environment, Public Health, and Public Works) should work together in a holistic approach toward making cities health.”

In terms of training to keep fit, Lincoln, Nebraska, has the most fitness trainers and aerobics instructors per 100,000 residents at 223. This is 7.7 times more than in Corpus Christi, Texas, the city with the fewest at 29. Whereas with open spaces, New York has the most playgrounds (per square root of population) at 0.6607; which is 18.9 times more than in Hialeah, Florida, the city with the fewest at 0.0349.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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