How fit is the city you travel to or live in? The American Fitness Index conducts an annual report showing the best large cities for fit and active lifestyles. See which cities made the top 20.
Virginia’s capital rounds out the list thanks, in part, to all its dog parks. If you’re visiting with your pooch, check out Ruff House Dog Park at Rockwood Park, an off-leash dog park that’s a favorite among locals. You’ll also routinely see <a title="Richmond" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/bizarre-foods/travel-guides/virginia-travel-guide" target="_blank">Richmond</a> residents get in their exercise alongside their furry friends on historic <a title="Monument Avenue" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/richmond/photos/things-to-do-in-richmond-virginia?page=14" target="_blank">Monument Avenue</a>.
<a title="Cleveland" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/bizarre-foods/travel-guides/cleveland-travel-guide" target="_blank">Cleveland</a> makes the list for its ample recreation facilities and park-related spending. The city is home to the new $11 million Collinwood Recreation Center, which is free for all to use, even nonresidents of the city. Another big attraction is the West Side Market (pictured), the oldest operating indoor/outdoor market space in the city.
<a title="Virginia Beach" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/visit-virginia-beach-11536" target="_blank">Virginia Beach</a> consistently ranks among America’s fittest cities. The oceanfront city boasts many light and non-lighted tennis courts across town, and the area is home to 265 parks, totaling more than 4,000 acres of land.
<a title="Baltimore" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/baltimore/photos/best-of-baltimore" target="_blank">Baltimore</a> ranks well for its high number of park playgrounds, recreation centers and swimming pools. Another draw is <a title="Baltimore’s Inner Harbor" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/dont-miss-baltimores-inner-harbor-12433" target="_blank">Baltimore’s Inner Harbor</a>, which sees 13 million visitors a year. Among its attractions is Baltimore Beach, a stretch of sand that’s home to 7 volleyball courts.
<a title="Pittsburgh" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/bizarre-foods/travel-guides/pittsburgh-travel-guide" target="_blank">Pittsburgh</a> didn’t rank too well in terms of “healthy eating.” However, the city has many opportunities for visitors and residents to stay active outside. Renting a bike is easy at Golden Triangle Bike Rental, with their main location on the Eliza Furnace Trail. Hourly and daily rentals are available for the entire family. All rentals include a helmet, bike lock and self-guided trail map.
<a title="Raleigh" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/north-carolina/articles/raleigh-city-guide" target="_blank">Raleigh</a> gets high marks for setting aside a high percentage of city land as parkland; 17% of municipal land is devoted to parks compared with the national average of 10.6%. Cycling, boating, camping and hiking are all easy day excursions, with Umstead State Park and the American Tobacco Trail nearby. Plus, get in outdoor art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, where you’ll find this monumental sculpture.
Along with its great weather, “America’s Finest City” is known for its physically fit residents, who go <a title="surfing in San Diego" href="http://blog.travelchannel.com/the-traveling-type/2013/11/01/catch-a-wave-with-san-diegos-surfing-pros" target="_blank">surfing in San Diego</a> at places like South Carlsbad State Beach. For quiet time, locals and visitors alike can enjoy the meditation gardens on the grounds of <a title="San Diego" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/experience-san-diego-11309" target="_blank">San Diego</a>’s Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, founded by an Indian spiritual leader in the 1930s.
Locals in Cincinnati find plenty of outdoor inspiration in this stretch of southwest Ohio, from hopping aboard a riverboat cruise to kicking back in the city’s new 45-acre <a title="Riverfront Park" href="http://www.mysmaleriverfrontpark.org" target="_blank">Riverfront Park</a>. On the food front, <a title="Findlay Market" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/ohios-findlay-market-16346" target="_blank">Findlay Market</a> delivers as Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market.
It's no surprise to us that <a title="Salt Lake City" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/topics/salt-lake-city/index.html" target="_blank">Salt Lake City</a> made this list. Utah’s capital city is a short drive from renowned ski resorts like <a title="Alta" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/skiing/articles/ski-guide-alta-utah" target="_blank">Alta</a>, as well as scenic recreation areas like Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
<a title="Austin, TX" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/austin/articles/austin-city-guide" target="_blank">Austin, TX</a>, has <a title="superb food" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/austin/articles/austins-best-food-carts" target="_blank">superb food</a>. The Texas capital can also get very hot, which may explain why it has so many public swimming areas, at an affordable fee, too. The average price for a day pass to one of the city’s public pools is only $3 for adults and $1 for children. Barton Springs Pool is one place to cool down; find the recreational pool in Austin’s Zilker Park.
Often called the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” <a title="San Jose" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/girl-getaways/articles/san-jose-weekend-guide" target="_blank">San Jose</a>, as California’s third-largest city, also has some great outdoor attractions. Alum Rock Park, nestled in the eastern foothills of Silicon Valley, is a great place for picnics, hiking, biking and exploring. The park also boasts great scenic trails, and 1800s-era natural spring baths.
The capital city has more than 50 public parks and squares that cover more than 27,000 acres. More than a million people annually picnic, jog, attend rallies and socialize at Hartford's restored Bushnell Park (pictured). As the oldest publicly funded park in the US, Hartford’s historic “Central Park” has added new landscaping, benches and a play area in recent years.
Beach volleyball, anyone? In <a title="Seattle" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/the-layover/travel-guides/36-hours-in-seattle" target="_blank">Seattle</a> locals head to Alki Beach Park, a nearly 136-acre park with a half-mile of beachfront. Another favorite for the physically fit is Discovery Park, a 534-acre park on the shores of <a title="Puget Sound" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/seattle/photos/tour-seattles-sights?page=2" target="_blank">Puget Sound</a> that includes more than 11 miles of walking and biking trails. The park, the largest in Seattle, is also a great place to view wildlife.
In the <a title="Sacramento" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/topics/sacramento/index.html" target="_blank">Sacramento</a> area, go kayaking on Lake Natoma, within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. Another big attraction is the city’s park system; in 2013, Sacramento tied with San Francisco and Boston for having the third-best park system among the 50 most populous US cities.
Beantown is a walker’s city. Lace up for a walk along Boston Harbor. Plus, enjoy a 2.5-mile walk along the Freedom Trail, which leads to 16 historic sites in downtown <a title="Boston" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/boston/articles/travel-channels-guide-to-boston" target="_blank">Boston</a>. The city is also the birthplace of <a title="November Project" href="http://november-project.com" target="_blank">November Project</a>, a free fitness movement that started in 2011 (and has since spread to other major cities), with a membership of professional athletes and fitness rookies.
Outdoors lovers especially love the <a title="Mile High City" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/visit-the-mile-high-city-11326" target="_blank">Mile High City</a>. The big outdoor attraction is the Front Range Trail. Just 30 minutes outside the city, the 876-mile trail stretches from Wyoming into New Mexico, with trails ideal for hiking, running, rock climbing and mountain biking. And just 20 miles west of <a title="Denver" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/amys-denver-tips" target="_blank">Denver</a>, check out Genesee Park; you may spot American bison.
The <a title="San Francisco Bay Area" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/bizarre-foods/travel-guides/san-francisco-bay-travel-guide" target="_blank">San Francisco Bay Area</a> is known for its fresh, healthy food, with a focus on seasonal ingredients and sustainable agriculture. Dig into organic delights at local restaurants like <a title="The Plant" href="http://www.theplantcafe.com" target="_blank">The Plant</a>, where organic salads and meats grace the menu. And whip up your own menu with items from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which sells more than 1,500 varieties of local produce.
With more than 10,000 acres of public parks, including 300 miles of greenways and bike boulevards, <a title="Portland" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/aarons-portland-tips" target="_blank">Portland</a> is a great city for anyone seeking outdoor urban adventure. Enjoy a bike ride along the Willamette River, or start exploring the great outdoors on foot with a trip into Forest Park, one of the largest protected wilderness areas inside any US city.
<a title="Washington, DC" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/travel-to-washington-dc-11346" target="_blank">Washington, DC</a>, promotes a healthy lifestyle through its Capital Bikeshare program, with 2,500 bicycles located throughout the city. Another big draw is <a title="Eastern Market" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/explore-eastern-market-11339" target="_blank">Eastern Market</a>, a city fixture for more than 135 years, selling local farm-fresh produce. And if you want to get in cardio, a jog around the National Mall is a great option; you’ll cover 5 miles.
For the third year in a row, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area ranks as the No. 1 healthiest city. <a title="Minneapolis" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/minneapolis-st-paul/minneapolis-travel-guide" target="_blank">Minneapolis</a> was one of the first cities nationwide to add bike trails; it also sets aside a high percentage of the city as parkland. Another healthy draw is the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Established in 1937, the market supports some 230 local vendors.