The 10 Worst (and 10 Best) Cities for an Active Lifestyle
Last Updated: May 02, 2017
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With life’s constant demands, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. And it turns out that for people living in certain cities, this is even tougher. WalletHub compared the 100 most populated cities in the U.S. to see which were the best and worst places to live in terms of fitness. They used 30 key indicators, ranging from “average monthly fitness club fee” to “share of physically inactive residents” to “cost of playing squash.” Read on to see if your city is cheering you on or holding you back from your fitness goals.
WORST: ARLINGTON, TEXAS
Arlington claimed the 10th spot on WalletHub’s list, with a score of 29.49 out of 100. If you love to play basketball, you might want to avoid Arlington, as it has the fifth fewest basketball hoops per capita of all the cities analyzed.
Related: 2017’s Best and Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle
WORST: IRVING, TEXAS
Irving proved to be a hair worse than its neighbor, Arlington, scoring 29.39 points. Tennis players beware: WalletHub’s analysts found that Irving has the fewest tennis courts per capita.
WORST: TOLEDO, OHIO
Although Toledo scored higher than seven other cities, WalletHub reports that it has the highest number of physically inactive residents. This means that Ohioans could use some serious fitspo.
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WORST: NEWARK, NEW JERSEY
Exercise is essential when it comes to reducing and preventing childhood obesity. Unfortunately, getting enough exercise might be difficult for children in places like Newark, New Jersey, which has the fourth fewest park playgrounds per capita among the 100 cities analyzed.
WORST: HIALEAH, FLORIDA
Like Newark, Hialeah ranks poorly in the category of park playgrounds, coming in fifth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents in the U.S.
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WORST: NEW YORK, NEW YORK
While New York may seem like a haven for the fitness and wellness industry, it’s actually one of the most difficult cities for practicing a healthy lifestyle. It has the fourth highest monthly gym fees, making fitness in the urban jungle pretty inaccessible.
WORST: DALLAS, TEXAS
Dallas, neighbor to Arlington and Irving, ranked fourth on WalletHub’s list, with a score of 26.77. The city finds itself at the bottom of the rankings because of its lack of sports facilities and outdoor recreation.
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WORST: NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Add “skipping the gym” to the list of common misdeeds in Sin City — an especially heinous crime considering the amount of pina coladas and mudslides being regularly consumed.
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WORST: LAREDO, TEXAS
Laredo barely missed the title of the worst city for an active lifestyle in the U.S., with a score of 25.43 out of 100. It did, however, surpass in badness all the other cities in the “sports facilities and outdoor recreation” category.
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WORST: MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
Memphis rounded out WalletHub’s list of the worst cities for an active lifestyle, with a dismal score of 24.81 out of 100. It is one of the five cities with the highest percentage of physically inactive residents and scored terribly in both the “budget and participation” and “sports facilities and outdoor recreation” categories. Fitness junkies of Memphis, read on to find out where your next home should be.
BEST: SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA
Sacramento is a great place to be for fitness buffs. It holds 10th place, with a score of 52.13. It scored particularly well in the “sports facilities and outdoor recreation” category.
BEST: IRVINE, CALIFORNIA
If you’re not feeling Sacramento in Northern California, head south to Irvine, which scored 52.28 points. The sprawling city earned first place in the “budget and participation” category, making it an accessible place to get fit and stay fit for people from all walks of life.
Related: 26 of the Best Places to Run in the World
BEST: ATLANTA, GEORGIA
Atlanta crushed the competition with its plethora of athletic facilities. It claimed fifth place for having (per capita) the most swimming pools and tennis courts, and it tied for first in the most fitness centers per capita category.
BEST: MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA
Want to start a career in basketball — or maybe just jump into the occasional pickup game? Minneapolis might be the place for you. WalletHub analysts found that it tied with two other cities for having the most basketball hoops per capita.
BEST: ORLANDO, FLORIDA
For miles and miles of fresh fairways and smooth putting greens, head to Orlando, Florida. It tied with three other cities for having the most public golf courses per capita.
Related: The 5 Worst States for Obesity and the 5 Best
BEST: PORTLAND, OREGON
Oregonians know how to keep it moving, giving Portland the second lowest percentage of physically inactive residents among the 100 most populous cities in America.
BEST: SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA
Scottsdale came in third place, with a score of 55.40, tying with San Francisco, Atlanta and Orlando for having the most fitness centers per capita.
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BEST: BOISE, IDAHO
Boise is the runner-up on WalletHub’s list, narrowly missing the crown, with a score of 57.21. For those of you who love to get your exercise outdoors, Boise also came in third in the “sports facilities and outdoor recreation” category.
BEST: MADISON, WISCONSIN
Madison scored the No. 1 spot on WalletHub’s list of the best cities for an active lifestyle. Notably, it tied with Minneapolis and Norfolk for having the most basketball hoops for capita, and beat Boise to gain second place in the “sports facilities and outdoor recreation” category. Madison is especially popular in the winter because of its snowy landscapes that are perfect for skiing and snowboarding.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Did your hometown make the list? What facilities are absolutely essential to your fitness routine? What are some ways you can maintain a fit lifestyle even if it’s pretty inaccessible in your city?
Related: The Top 25 U.S. Cities for Fit Millennials
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