Arlington, Virginia, tops list of fittest, healthiest US cities

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These metro areas have easy access to parks, walking paths and bike lanes. They also have good air quality and are safe for pedestrians.

Whether you love to walk, bike or run in a park, you’ll feel right at home in Arlington, Virginia, dubbed “America’s fittest city” for the second year in a row.

The community across the river from the nation’s capital topped the list of the 2019 American Fitness Index — an annual ranking of the largest 100 U.S. cities — published Tuesday by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation.

The list takes into account the personal health habits of residents, plus a variety of factors that reveal “community fitness,” such as easy access to parks, recreational centers, walking paths and bike lanes. Communities with the highest scores have the most active, healthiest residents and offer more resources that support healthy living, the report noted.

Cities can actually nudge people to be healthier by creating an environment where residents want to be more active, said Barbara Ainsworth, chair of the American Fitness Index Board and a regents’ professor in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University.

“That is an absolute yes,” Ainsworth told TODAY. “We know that physical activity is one of the most powerful health-enhancing behaviors for reducing the risks for just about every chronic disease.

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