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The 15 most physically active cities
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The 15 most physically active cities

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Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Despite a growing interest in health awareness, COVID-19 led to a sharp, immediate decline in physical activity among U.S. adults as gyms closed and residents increasingly stayed home. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine using fitness trackers found that average daily step counts were down 15 percent in the United States within two weeks of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic. Globally, the average number of steps taken per day decreased by 27.3 percent within a month. As Americans settle into the new normal of COVID-19, residents living in areas with convenient outdoor access, and who embrace new at-home fitness technologies, are more likely to maintain high levels of activity in the months ahead.


In addition to the long-term benefits of regular physical activity such as weight management and reduced health risks, physical activity produces immediate benefits to one’s brain health. Adults can experience reduced short-term feelings of anxiety, and children benefit from improved thinking and cognition. Physically activity also lowers the risk of childhood obesity, which according to the CDC, is related to depression, low self-esteem, and stigma in addition to high blood pressure, respiratory issues, diabetes, and other health problems.

Researchers at RetailMeNot analyzed recent CDC data to find the most physically active cities in the United States. Apparent in their findings was a strong correlation between physical activity among adults and both physical and mental health.



Researchers also compiled median household income and poverty rate data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey for all locations. RetailMeNot’s researchers compared this income and poverty data to the CDC’s health data. Generally, cities with higher median incomes reported higher rates of physical activity. Additionally, higher poverty rates correlated with lower reported rates of physical activity.



Geographically, Mountain and Western states have the highest percentage of physically active adults in the United States, with Utah and Colorado leading the way at 81.5 percent and 81.3 percent, respectively. Washington and Montana also show more than 80 percent of adults as being physically active. The states with the lowest percentage of physically active adults are primarily in the South, with Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Alabama all reporting rates lower than 70 percent. In Mississippi, only 62.3 percent of adults report being physically active, the lowest percentage in the country.



To find the most physically active cities in the United States, researchers at RetailMeNot analyzed the most recent data from the CDC’s 500 Cities survey and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Cities were ranked according to the percentage of adults who reported participating in any physical activity, outside of work, within 30 days of being surveyed. The report also includes the percentage of adults in good physical health and good mental health and the median household income and poverty rate of each location.


To improve relevance, only cities with at least 100,000 residents were included in the analysis. Furthermore, separate rankings were generated for small (100,000–149,999 residents), midsize (150,000–349,999 residents), and large cities (350,000 residents or more).

Here are the most physically active cities in the United States.



The Most Physically Active Large Cities

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

15. Austin, TX

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 77.3%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 90.7%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 87.6%
  • Median household income: $75,413
  • Poverty rate: 12.2%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

14. Aurora, CO

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 77.5%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 88.6%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 87.0%
  • Median household income: $69,235
  • Poverty rate: 9.4%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

13. Los Angeles, CA

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 77.6%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 87.7%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 86.8%
  • Median household income: $67,418
  • Poverty rate: 16.7%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

12. Anaheim, CA

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 77.8%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 88.2%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 87.0%
  • Median household income: $76,075
  • Poverty rate: 12.6%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

11. Albuquerque, NM

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 77.9%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 86.8%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 85.7%
  • Median household income: $55,567
  • Poverty rate: 16.0%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

10. Raleigh, NC

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 78.4%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 89.8%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 87.6%
  • Median household income: $69,333
  • Poverty rate: 10.9%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

9. Long Beach, CA

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 78.5%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 88.1%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 86.9%
  • Median household income: $67,804
  • Poverty rate: 14.7%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

8. Oakland, CA

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 78.7%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 88.2%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 87.4%
  • Median household income: $82,018
  • Poverty rate: 13.9%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Colorado Springs, CO

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 79.7%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 89.3%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 87.2%
  • Median household income: $70,527
  • Poverty rate: 9.3%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

6. Denver, CO

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 81.0%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 89.8%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 88.3%
  • Median household income: $75,646
  • Poverty rate: 11.7%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. San Jose, CA

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 81.4%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 90.1%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 89.4%
  • Median household income: $115,893
  • Poverty rate: 7.1%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

4. Portland, OR

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 81.6%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 89.1%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 86.0%
  • Median household income: $76,231
  • Poverty rate: 12.3%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

3. San Diego, CA

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 81.9%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 89.6%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 88.4%
  • Median household income: $85,507
  • Poverty rate: 11.0%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. San Francisco, CA

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 83.3%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 90.7%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 89.8%
  • Median household income: $123,859
  • Poverty rate: 9.5%

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

1. Seattle, WA

  • Percentage of adults who are physically active: 85.7%
  • Percentage of adults in good physical health: 91.1%
  • Percentage of adults in good mental health: 88.5%
  • Median household income: $102,486
  • Poverty rate: 9.8%

Methodology & Full Results

Researchers used the most recent health data from the CDC’s 500 Cities survey to calculate the most physically active cities in the United States. National and state-level health data came from the CDC’s 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. Physical activity, good physical health, and good mental health were determined based on adults’ responses to questions in the annually conducted BRFSS survey. Median household income and poverty rates for each location came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Only cities with at least 100,000 residents were included in the report. Cities were also grouped into the following cohorts based on population:

  • Small cities: 100,000–149,999 residents
  • Midsize cities: 150,000–349,999 residents
  • Large cities: 350,000 residents or more
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