(NBC News) Which cities are havens for health and which have some work to do?
The American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation have released their annual fitness rankings.
Researchers looked at everything from community indicators like air quality and recreational facilities to personal health behaviors including getting enough exercise and eating well.
For the third year in a row Arlington, Virginia is flexing its muscle as the fittest in the country.
Dr. Nicole Keith, president of the American College o Sports Medicine, points to the city’s extensive park and waterway systems, as well as excellent public transit and pedestrian safety.
Boston is in the top ten for the first time, and Buffalo, Toledo and Anchorage all improved by at least 15 spots.
“Somebody who improves from one year to the next, it’s not that they did something over a 12 month period. It’s more likely they’ve been building upon something for quite awhile,” Dr. Keith notes.
On the opposite end Bakersfield, California and Oklahoma City ranked 99 and 100.
Still, across the board the fitness index finds improvement. Residents in all 100 cities exercised more, smoked less and had increased access to parks.
The annual study is being released amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has closed gyms in many areas and pushed more people outside to exercise.
That in turn has emphasized the importance of recreational spaces.
“It builds your immunity, physical activity is protective. And giving people the opportunity to be physically active where they live is of the utmost importance right now,” Dr. Keith says.
To find out more about where your city is ranked, read more at: https://bit.ly/3epuKEN
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