According to the eighth annual American Fitness Index from the American Council of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation, Washington D.C. is the fittest area in the United States because authorities have made many paths available for walking, jogging and cycling. Meanwhile, Indianapolis ranked 50th, dropping from the 46th place of the least fit major metro areas compared to last year.
Walter Thompson, chair of the AFI advisory board and a professor of kinesiology at Georgia State University, says the ranking serves as a wakeup call for authorities of least fit regions to work on providing access to areas designed for recreation. The ranking also included rates of diabetes, obesity and smoking.
The reason behind Indianapolis ranking last on the scale is that the geography was not as generous as it was to other green areas, like Denver. The city just doesn’t have enough parks because the climate is unfavorable. Needless to say, the same goes for water dominated areas – there just aren’t any in Indianapolis.
The fitness level also depends on other, less visible factors. "The more highly educated a population is, the more people tend to practice good health behaviors such as exercise, healthy eating and stress reduction," says Deborah Ann Ballard, a physician with Louisville-based KentuckyOne Health, who works with its Healthy Lifestyle Centers.
Photo attribution: Jeff Drongbowski