Sure, L.A. has legions of beach-jogging hardbodies and Portland practically has more bike riders than motorists. But neither of these is America's healthiest city. That title belongs to frigid, landlocked Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, where chiseled abs hide beneath bulky parkas and subzero temps don't stop residents from strapping on the Yaktrax and hitting the trails.
Every year, the American College of Sports Medicine uses its American Fitness Index to rank the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas from fittest to fattest. A multitude of factors determine each city's ranking including the number of fitness centers, farmers' markets, golf courses, and parks per capita, as well as access to health care. The organization also pulls data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other institutions to assess residents' individual physical and mental health, fitness levels, and eating habits, as well as overall rates of diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions. After some serious number crunching, they come up with the list.
Minneapolis-St. Paul cleaned up in almost every category in 2013, earning it top honors for the third year in a row thanks to its ample running trails, tennis courts, golf courses, and several in-town lakes for kayaking, canoeing, and kiteboarding. Here is a closer look at the rest of their picks for the fittest cities and why each metro is an especially great spot for health-minded guys.
8. Seattle, Washington
Like their neighbors down the coast in Portland, Seattlites embrace a healthy lifestyle. The city doesn't have the high number of golf courses, recreation centers, and parks of other ranked metro areas, but that doesn't stop this city from exercising regularly – running, cycling, or sea kayaking the many waterways flanking the city. The resilience is pretty impressive, given how often it rains. Seattle residents also eat lots of fresh-caught fish and Washington-grown apples and other produce, which keeps them thin and their hearts healthy.
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