Quality of life rankings and amenities are important factors in our housing market. As Realtors and residents, we enjoy seeing the top national rankings and accolades for our local cities.
Quick quiz: which Colorado cities have a high percentage of residents that walk or bike to work or a low percentage of fast-food restaurants? If you guessed Boulder or Fort Collins, you’re right on track.
Fort Collins and Boulder are the Nos. 8 and 9 fitness-friendliest cities in the U.S., according to SmartAsset’s seventh annual study. In fact, Western and Midwestern metro areas dominate the top ten for the second year running.
To find the most fitness friendly locales, SmartAsset compared 301 metro areas for key metrics: percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, fitness professionals per 10,000 workers, fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments, the percentage of restaurants that are fast-food establishments and the average wage of personal trainers.
If you guessed that fitness-friendly places are light on fast-food, you’re right again. Across all metro areas studied, fast-food establishments represent 45% of all restaurants, compared with the top 10 fitness-friendly places where most have fewer than 40% of fast-food restaurants. In Wenatchee, Washington, which has the lowest percentage, if you want a fast-food fix your choice is limited to just over 27% of metro restaurants.
Whether you know someone who is thinking about moving to Colorado, or you are considering relocating to another city, these are the top 10 fitness-friendly cities where you can enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle:
1. Missoula, MT
Missoula boasts 131 fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments, the third-highest rate in the study, and 59 per 10,000 workers are fitness professionals. Adding to the fit profile, 7.1% of residents walk or bike to work, the 17th-highest rate across the metros studied.
2. La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN
The La Crosse metro ranks as the fourth-highest for number of fitness establishments and 5.2% of residents walk or bike to work.
3. Bend, OR
The Bend metro area makes top 10 for two metrics: fourth for 61 fitness professionals per 10,000 workers and seventh for 116 fitness establishments per 10,0000. The average hourly wage of personal trainers is $18.72, placing Bend at 176th for this metric.
4. Ann Arbor, MI
There are 67 fitness professionals per 10,000 workers in the Ann Arbor metro area, the second-highest rate for this metric. For their commutes, 7.4% of residents walk or bike to work, the 15th-highest percentage.
5. Bloomington, IN
Eight percent of Bloomington residents walk or bike to work, the eighth-highest study-wide.
6. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
The Santa Cruz metro area ranks ninth overall for having only 33% or its restaurants specializing in fast food. Santa Cruz also comes in 12th for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, at 7.5%.
7. Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, Arizona has the third highest percentage of residents walking or biking to work at 11.5%. The average wage of a personal trainer in this metro area is $22.27, which is higher than most other metros, placing it in the bottom sixth of the study for this metric.
8. Fort Collins, CO
The first of two Colorado metro areas that rank in the top 10, Fort Collins offers 113 fitness establishments per 10,000 total establishments, ranking ninth of the metro areas studied for this metric. It also scores in the top 15% of the study for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work with 5.2% and 46 fitness professionals per 10,000 workers.
9. Boulder, CO
Boulder finishes in the top 15 in the study overall for two metrics coming in 11th for fitness professionals per 10,000 workers, at 53, and 12th for the percentage of residents who walk or bike to work, at 7.5%. Its final ranking is dragged down a bit due to its higher-than-other -metros average hourly wage for personal trainers, at $27.25. It ranks in the top 20 of the study for fitness establishments per 10,000 establishments, at 105.
10. Ithaca, NY
A healthy 14.5% of Ithaca residents walk or bike to work, the second-highest percentage in this study for this metric. The average hourly wage for a personal trainer at $29.30, finishing third-worst out of 301 metro areas in this study for its high cost.
Get the full results of the study at smartasset.com/checking-account/most-fitness-friendly-places-for-2021.
By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620 or visit boulderco.com.