Most of us strive to be two things: happy and healthy. According to a study published in the Health Behavior and Policy Review journal, optimistic people are twice as likely to have healthy hearts. Research shows a positive attitude can influence wellness. Along with optimism, factors such as relationships, job, diet, activity level and even where you live can impact the quality of your health. So, where are the best places for fitness fanatics, health gurus and wellness warriors?
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The ASCM American Fitness Index (AFI) ranked the healthiest cities in the U.S. based on personal health, community and environmental indicators supporting healthy and active lifestyles. The following metropolitan areas ranked as the top five in health and fitness status for 2015. If you want to live in a health-focused environment, find fitness inspiration or go on an active and adventurous vacation, here are your top urban destinations.
Hundreds of thousands of people move to D.C. because of a new job or job transfer. In addition to attracting workaholics, D.C. also attracts workoutaholics and was dubbed the fittest metro area in the nation. If you want to make this fit city your hometown, check out Apartment Guide to find a luxury apartment with the right pool, gym and amenities to support your active lifestyle.
Minneapolis is so livable in part because of its park system, which covers 17 percent of the city. In 2014, the Trust for Public Land ranked the city's park system as the best in the country. These parks provide an accessible outdoor area where people can walk, run and play. A low percentage of smokers, high percentage of residents who engage in physical activity and a large number of health care providers also support the city's attractiveness in health and fitness.
As if the beach, laid-back California vibe and SoCal sun weren't enough to make San Diego the perfect place to live or vacation, it ranks as No. 3 on the list of healthy and fit locales. This California city offers sunshine and moderate weather for enjoyable outdoor activities year round. Check out highlights by San Diego Magazine for a variety of ways to stay in shape and avoid being a beach bum, from standup paddleboard yoga to doggie bootcamps.
Men’s Fitness ranks San Francisco as No. 1 for its list of fittest cities in America. Not only has San Francisco become the hub of tech revolution and innovation, it's a very walkable and bikeable city. The northern California hotspot has a low number of smokers, low obesity rates, farmers markets, an exercise culture and relatively low death rates for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to SFgate.com.
Sacramento comes in fifth for AFI's urban health and fitness list. This health hub achieved a reputation for healthy living based on high participation in aerobic and strength activities, nutritional habits (eating fruits and vegetables), a low percentage of angina or coronary heart disease, numerous farmers markets and a high percentage of residents who bike or walk to work. Dog parks, park playgrounds and golf courses also gave this city high health marks.
Whether you’re looking an active vacation or looking to put down roots somewhere, choose a place where you’ll be surrounded by others who are like-minded and health-inspired!
Abby Terlecki is one of those creative writer-types who prefers to tell stories through her keyboard than with her mouth. When Abby's not writing freelance articles, text messages, to-do lists or CrossFit scores, she's a copywriter for a university in Phoenix, Arizona.