Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

The 10 Worst (and 10 Best) Cities for an Active Lifestyle

author image Hoku Krueger
Hoku Krueger recently graduated from Occidental College with a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature Studies and a minor in French Language Studies. During her time there she wrote for the Occidental Weekly and interned with The Maui News.

Slide 1 of 22

The 10 Worst (and 10 Best) Cities for an Active Lifestyle
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@javan

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.

10. Worst: Arlington, Texas
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@a_v_photo

10 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.

Read More: 2017’s Best and Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle

9. Worst: Irving, Texas
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@blgroover

9 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.

Listen Now: How to Turn Anxiety Into Your Best Friend

8. Worst: Toledo, Ohio
Photo Credit: SNEHIT/Adobe Stock

8 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.

Read More: The 50 U.S. Cities With the Worst Air Quality

7. Worst: Newark, New Jersey
Photo Credit: Gary/Adobe Stock

7 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.

6. Worst: Hialeah, Florida
Photo Credit: Travel_Bug/Adobe Stock

6 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.

Read More: The 12 Best Cities Made for the Ultimate Urban Run

5. Worst: New York, New York
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@javan

5 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.

4. Worst: Dallas, Texas
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@joshuab_photog

4 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.

Read More: The 21 Most Lethal Places in America

3. Worst: North Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@highonpixels

3 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.

2. Worst: Laredo, Texas
Photo Credit: robert cicchetti/Adobe Stock

2 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.

Read More: The 20 Most Awe-Inspiring Places in the World

1. Worst: Memphis, Tennessee
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@zach_tuite

1 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.

10. Best: Sacramento, California
Photo Credit: coreyrada/Adobe Stock

10 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.

9. Best: Irvine, California
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@nhoc_fullmoon

9 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.

Read More: 26 of the Best Places to Run in the World

8. Best: Atlanta, Georgia
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@leggybird

8 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.

7. Best: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@aanmcmillian

7 Best: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is a hot-weather haven, tying with Cleveland and Cincinnati for having the most swimming pools per capita.

Read More: The 5 States That Get the Most (and Least!) Sleep

6. Best: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@gccooper_

6 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.

5. Best: Orlando, Florida
Photo Credit: Tweny20/@delilahsmama

5 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.

Read More: The 5 Worst States for Obesity and the 5 Best

4. Best: Portland, Oregon
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@freemanlafleur

4 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.

3. Best: Scottsdale, Arizona
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@megmcaul

3 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.

Read More: The 10 Cities With the Highest HIV Rates

2. Best: Boise, Idaho
Photo Credit: knowlesgallery/Adobe Stock

2 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.

1. Best: Madison, Wisconsin
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@jsdaniel

1 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?
Photo Credit: Twenty20/@sashapritchard

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?

Read More: The Top 25 U.S. Cities for Fit Millennials

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media