If you made a New Year’s resolution to be healthier, you might want to consider a change of scenery to help you reach your goal. According to Trulia, not all places are created equal: Certain cities rank as significantly “healthier” than others. And no, this doesn’t just mean they have more juice bars per capita.
In a new study, Trulia looked at the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States—examining both the cities and the people who inhabit them—to determine which ones possess the qualities necessary for leading a healthy life. The real estate site looked at the percentage of adults who report biking or walking to work—instead of taking public transit or driving, for example—and the percentage of residents who reported having exercised within the previous month. In terms of what Trulia judged each metro area itself on, percentage of space devoted to parks and ratio of things like sporting goods stores, sports leagues, and fitness centers to population size was highly important.
Salt Lake City, Utah, took the top spot as the healthiest US city, with West Palm Beach, Florida, registering second. The full list is as follows:
1. Salt Lake City, UT
2. West Palm Beach, FL
3. Orange County, CA
4. Seattle, WA
5. Fort Lauderdale, FL
6. Charleston, SC
7. Cambridge, MA
8. Boston, MA
9. San Diego, CA
10. San Francisco, CA
If these findings seem surprising to you, you’re not alone. Felipe Chacon, Trulia’s housing economist—who pulled the data and provided analysis for the report—found the ranking of two cities to be particularly unexpected.
“When we ranked cities in the past based on neighborhood amenities that might help you be healthier or [lose] weight, coastal cities in the west and northeast were at the top of the list. This time around, we put more emphasis on cities with active populations. We were surprised to see Salt Lake City and Charleston make the list, but dug deeper and found that both offered plenty of mountain and water sports, respectively,” Chacon tells Domino.
Indeed, Salt Lake City not only boasts the most sports teams and leagues of any of the 100 metro areas surveyed, but it also has the most sporting goods stores per household of any of the cities in the US. And Charleston—whose residents can take advantage of the beautiful sunny weather and partake in outdoor activities like equestrianism, cycling, and water sports—also ranks third in the number of gyms per household.
The report also speaks to how our surroundings impact our motivation to stay fit.
“Where you live plays an important role in getting—and staying—in shape,” writes Jill K Robinson, who authored the report. “In the right city, being fit isn’t a chore. When it’s core to the community around you, it simply becomes a way of life.”
So, the next time you skip a gym session in favor of hitting the snooze button a few (dozen) more times, don’t blame yourself: Blame your city. You did your best under the circumstances.
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