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.
<b>No. 1: Minneapolis-St. Paul</b><br /> The Minneapolis-St. Paul area ranked No. 1 for several reasons: more farmers’ markets, more people bike and walk to work, more dog parks, golf courses and playgrounds. The Minneapolis Farmers Market, established in 1937, is open each Saturday and has a Fresh & Local radio program on AM950 each Saturday at 8 a.m.
<b>No. 2: Washington, DC</b><br />According to the report, more DC-area residents visit farmers’ markets and, in turn, eat a higher percentage of fruits and vegetables. Along with eating well, Washingtonians maintain an active lifestyle with the help of trails and closed roads (on the weekends) via Rock Creek Park and the Capital Crescent Trail.
<b>No. 3: Boston</b><br />Boston is no stranger to bikers and walkers, who routinely commute between the college town of Cambridge and the downtown Boston area. Boston.com recently named 15 great bike rides. One is around the streets of Boston via Urban AdvenTours, which offers special guided tours through Fenway, the Avenue of the Arts, Back Bay, the South End, Copley Square, Charlestown, the North End, Beacon Hill and along the Charles River Esplanade.
<b>No. 4: Portland, OR</b><br />The Portland area has more acres of parkland per capita (person) and that’s a wonderful thing because Pacific Northwesterners love the great outdoors. A mere 45 minutes southeast of Portland is Milo McIver State Park, a beautiful spot for various outdoor pursuits: camping, hiking, horseback riding, on- and off-road biking, fishing and more.
<b>No. 5: Denver</b><br />Among its highlights, Denver has a higher percentage of park-related expenditures per capita, The Raptor Education Foundation, an organization that promotes awareness of human impact on the environment, offers tours to observe of bald eagles, golden eagles, hawks and more.
<b>No. 6: San Francisco</b><br />The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its fresh, healthy food. No surprise, the city has a lower percentage of obese residents and more farmers’ markets per capita, including the nationally renowned Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
<b>No. 7: Hartford, CT</b><br />The Hartford, CT, area received high marks for its number of physically active people. The city has over 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.
<b>No. 8: Seattle</b><br />With more than 11 miles of walking and biking trails, Seattle’s Discovery Park is a favorite for the physically fit. Come summer, Alki Beach is another popular spot for joggers, roller bladders, volleyball players, beachcombers, sunbathers, bicyclists and strollers.
<b>No. 9: Virginia Beach, VA</b><br />Tennis, anyone? With more tennis courts per capita, Virginia Beach knows how to keep its residents fit. Make sure to check out Owl Creek Tennis Center, which boasts 12 lighted, hard courts, plus 2 climate-controlled indoor courts.
<b>No. 10: Sacramento, CA</b><br />Sacramento-area residents believe in biking, walking and public transportation, one of the many reasons they’ve scored the No. 10 spot. With tons of little parks, downtown Sacramento is a great place for walking and enjoying the outdoors. Beyond downtown, McKinley Park, Curtis Park, Land Park and East Portal Park are worth a visit, too.
<b>No. 11: San Jose, CA</b><br />Often called "the capital" of Silicon Valley or “techie town,” San Jose also has some great outdoors. 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.
<b>No. 12: Richmond, VA</b><br />With more dog parks per capita, Richmond, VA, is home to an above average number of residents who get exercise alongside their furry friends. If you’re traveling with your “best friend,” be sure to check out Ruff House Dog Park at Rockwood Park, an off-leash dog park that’s a favorite among locals.
<b>No. 13: San Diego</b><br />Along with its gorgeous weather, San Diego is known for its physically fit residents. One of the reasons it’s No. 13. The city has tons of places to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, including the Harbor Drive along San Diego Harbor.
<b>No. 14: Cincinnati</b><br />Cincinnati ranks No. 14 for having more of everything: dog parks, playgrounds, golf courses and farmers’ markets. Findlay Market is one of Cincinnati’s most cherished institutions and Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market. With millions of dollars earmarked for Cincinnati’s reinvigoration, Findlay Market is likely to remain the region’s primary source for fresh, local food.
<b>No. 15: Salt Lake City</b><br />It's no surprise to us that Salt Lake City made this list. After all, it’s home to renowned ski resorts, scenic national parks and recreational areas. After all that rigorous outdoor fun, visitors to Salt Lake City may need a vacation from their vacation.
<b>No. 16: Austin, TX</b><br />Austin, TX, has superb food. The city can also get very hot, thus the reason it has more swimming pools per capita. Need to cool off? The average price for a day pass to one of the public pools is only $3 for adults and $1 for children. Probably the most famous public pool in Austin, Barton Springs is fed by natural springs.
<b>No. 17: Pittsburgh, PA</b><br />Pittsburgh is a cold city, and when it’s cold outside, people enjoy comfort food. So Pittsburgh didn’t rank 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.
<b>No. 18: Atlanta</b><br />With more golf courses per capita, Atlanta offers plenty of green to get the blood pumping. If you don’t rent the golf cart, walking from hole-to-hole is a wonderful cardio workout. Just outside the city, Bear's Best golf course offers the best golf the public can play, with a selection of 18 holes from Jack Nicklaus golf course designs. The idea behind it, officials say, is to give the public a private club experience.
<b>No. 19: Providence, RI</b><br />Need to unwind, de-stress and flex some muscle? Hitting a few baseballs should help. Providence, RI, has more ball diamonds per capita. At Upper Deck Baseball Academy, visitors can rent a batting cage Monday through Saturday, for $25 for 30 minutes or $40 for 1 hour. Totally depends on the level of aggression you need to exude.
<b>No. 20: Baltimore</b><br />Baltimore ranked well for having more park playgrounds, recreation centers and swimming pools. If you’re in town for a long stay, check out the Randallstown Community Center. Randallstown is the largest community center in Baltimore County, with 3 basketball courts, 2 volleyball courts, a 4-lane indoor track and 6-lane indoor pool.