The Most Physically Active Cities in America

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It seems like a contradiction but as obesity is on the rise, so is the number of Americans who exercise. Almost 40% of adults and nearly 20% of adolescents in the country are obese, the highest percentage ever recorded. But the share of adults who now meet or exceed federal exercise guidelines  — 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week – increased from 18.2% in 2008 to 24.3% by 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The share of inactive adults and those who exercise regularly varies greatly from city to city. 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the 2019 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report to determine which cities have the most active residents.

There is one emerging trend: metropolitan areas in western states from California to Colorado have relatively higher shares of adults who report regular leisure-time physical activity, including working out and other activities people engage in outside of work and in their free time.

The most physically active cities are clustered in a few regions. Ten of the 15 cities where the highest shares of adults exercise are either in California or Oregon. In contrast, many cities where the lowest percentage of adults are physically active are in the South.

One of the most accessible exercises, which also happens to be completely free — is walking. It’s easy to forget that walking is actually an aerobic activity — here are 30 reasons why walking is the best exercise.