En español | While healthy living is a personal choice, where you live can help or hinder you from achieving your fitness goals. In 2011, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) compiled a list of the fittest cities in America based on the American Fitness Index (AFI).
The Twin Cities rank No. 1 on the ACSM list. The percentage of local parkland is higher here than most cities on average — Minneapolis alone has 22 lakes. Parkland stretches on both banks of the Mississippi River as it snakes its way between the two cities. According to the ACSM, residents here have a higher overall percentage of physical activity.
Minneapolis is one of the first cities in the nation to build biking trails and enact strict nonsmoking ordinances. The metropolitan area has low asthma and diabetes rates, and a high percentage of its population has health insurance. Although Minneapolis may not have many well-known medical institutions, Hennepin County Medical Center is highly respected within the medical community.
Our nation’s capital maintains a healthy mix of open public spaces, parks and recreational facilities — not to mention a fascinating collection of some of the finest museums in the country. The walkable streets and neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., create a semi-urban environment, though downtown does not feel overcrowded. The extensive public transit system makes carless commuting available. To the west of the city are beautiful mountains and valleys in Maryland and Virginia, and to the east are the oceanfront communities on the eastern shore of Maryland and the beaches of Delaware.
Prestigious local medical institutions include George Washington University, Georgetown University, Washington Hospital Center and the National Institutes of Health. These ample health care options are partly responsible for the high number of per capita primary care providers compared with the national average.