Best & Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle

Jan 4, 2019  |  Adam McCann, Financial Writer

It’s easy to simply aspire to become the best and fittest versions of ourselves. Actually achieving that goal is much more difficult, and requires a consistently active lifestyle. The road to an active lifestyle can be filled with obstacles, sometimes because where we live may be failing to promote a healthy way of life. Some cities, for instance, lack sidewalks or neighborhood parks while others encourage few fitness centers to open for business.

It’s no wonder “lose weight and exercise more” top the list of the most popular New Year’s resolutions in America. At the same time, as many as 92 percent of people fail to keep their resolutions each year.

With New Year self-improvement in mind, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest U.S. cities based on 38 key indicators of an active lifestyle. Our data set ranges from average monthly fitness-club fee to bike score to share of physically inactive adults. Read on for the complete ranking, additional insight from our panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.

1MAIN FINDINGS2ASK THE EXPERTS

3METHODOLOGY

Main Findings

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Best & Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle

Overall Rank

(1 = Best)

City

WalletHub’s

Active Lifestyle

Score

‘Budget & Participation’ Rank

‘Sports & Outdoors’ Rank

1

Honolulu, HI

63.36

47

1

2

Chicago, IL

59.98

56

2

3

San Francisco, CA

59.07

55

3

4

Portland, OR

59.00

1

7

5

Seattle, WA

55.11

26

5

6

Minneapolis, MN

54.21

12

9

7

Washington, DC

54.19

28

6

8

Denver, CO

54.16

4

12

9

San Diego, CA

53.26

27

8

10

Madison, WI

52.14

8

13

11

New York, NY

50.82

93

4

12

Philadelphia, PA

50.46

39

11

13

Boston, MA

50.36

44

10

14

Lincoln, NE

50.32

6

16

15

Boise, ID

49.56

2

20

16

Sacramento, CA

48.46

22

15

17

Atlanta, GA

48.03

11

18

18

Austin, TX

46.98

42

14

19

Tampa, FL

46.87

21

19

20

Las Vegas, NV

46.00

5

31

21

St. Paul, MN

45.99

24

21

22

Reno, NV

45.86

3

34

23

Irvine, CA

45.70

17

24

24

Orlando, FL

45.69

13

26

25

Los Angeles, CA

45.68

48

17

26

Milwaukee, WI

45.18

20

25

27

Cincinnati, OH

44.83

18

28

28

Omaha, NE

43.77

57

22

29

St. Louis, MO

43.50

9

38

30

Tucson, AZ

43.10

32

30

31

Buffalo, NY

42.80

7

43

32

Baltimore, MD

42.47

73

23

33

Colorado Springs, CO

41.61

38

33

34

Miami, FL

41.60

41

32

35

Norfolk, VA

41.41

71

27

36

Cleveland, OH

41.36

61

29

37

Scottsdale, AZ

41.28

19

45

38

San Jose, CA

40.92

46

35

39

Virginia Beach, VA

40.46

45

36

40

Charlotte, NC

39.92

43

41

41

Pittsburgh, PA

39.88

10

53

42

Houston, TX

39.61

52

42

43

Phoenix, AZ

39.58

58

37

44

Albuquerque, NM

38.56

31

47

45

Chesapeake, VA

37.95

81

39

46

Fremont, CA

37.74

23

60

47

Henderson, NV

37.63

35

50

48

Jacksonville, FL

37.01

83

44

49

Nashville, TN

36.93

72

46

50

New Orleans, LA

36.50

51

55

51

Raleigh, NC

36.22

37

62

52

Indianapolis, IN

36.19

54

59

53

Dallas, TX

35.69

69

52

54

Glendale, AZ

35.58

98

40

55

Aurora, CO

35.19

79

51

56

Long Beach, CA

35.17

36

67

57

Lubbock, TX

35.12

14

78

58

Oakland, CA

35.08

77

56

59

Greensboro, NC

35.00

87

48

60

Kansas City, MO

34.99

76

58

61

San Antonio, TX

34.99

68

61

62

Anchorage, AK

34.74

89

49

63

Durham, NC

34.55

65

63

64

Fort Wayne, IN

34.26

15

83

65

Birmingham, AL

34.22

33

80

66

Columbus, OH

34.09

86

57

67

St. Petersburg, FL

34.04

66

65

68

Plano, TX

33.75

92

54

69

Baton Rouge, LA

33.53

64

68

70

Anaheim, CA

33.49

16

86

71

Laredo, TX

33.41

74

64

72

Mesa, AZ

33.16

62

70

73

Louisville, KY

33.16

59

73

74

Lexington-Fayette, KY

32.77

49

76

75

Jersey City, NJ

32.63

75

71

76

Detroit, MI

32.49

82

66

77

San Bernardino, CA

32.48

53

91

78

Chandler, AZ

32.27

70

75

79

Chula Vista, CA

32.18

25

87

80

El Paso, TX

31.97

78

74

81

Tulsa, OK

31.86

88

69

82

Winston-Salem, NC

31.73

40

82

83

Riverside, CA

31.73

34

88

84

Fort Worth, TX

31.25

80

77

85

Santa Ana, CA

31.06

30

94

86

Stockton, CA

30.94

29

95

87

Gilbert, AZ

30.21

96

72

88

Oklahoma City, OK

30.04

84

81

89

Corpus Christi, TX

29.95

63

90

90

Newark, NJ

29.67

60

93

91

Memphis, TN

29.05

97

79

92

Garland, TX

28.62

94

84

93

Toledo, OH

28.61

85

89

94

Wichita, KS

28.13

50

99

95

Arlington, TX

27.74

91

92

96

Fresno, CA

27.64

67

98

97

Irving, TX

26.12

95

96

98

Bakersfield, CA

24.49

90

100

99

North Las Vegas, NV

24.44

100

85

100

Hialeah, FL

23.59

99

97

Ask the Experts

Maintaining an active lifestyle not only improves quality of life, but it’s also a much cheaper alternative to fighting and preventing illness. Promoting healthy choices, however, requires a group effort. We asked a panel of experts to share their advice on introducing positive changes both at home and at the policy level. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:

  1. How can local communities encourage and facilitate active lifestyles among residents?
  2. Does the presence of professional sports teams in a city encourage residents to be more active? Should cities subsidize professional sports franchises through tax incentives and facilities?
  3. How can we increase access to and use of gyms and recreational facilities? Would incentives, such as tax deductions for gym memberships or penalties such as higher health care premiums, be more effective?
  4. What tips do you have for someone looking to maintain an active lifestyle on a budget?
  5. How can parents encourage children to be active in order to combat obesity?