Where you live can play a big role in how healthy you feel and appear. For example, your waistline would benefit from walking 20 minutes to work and back in NYC versus commuting an hour round trip to your job in Kansas. So, if you’re curious where you could live that would support a lifestyle of well-being, just keep scrolling. We’ve found the consensus from 11 experts on which are the healthiest cities in America.
Living in the big city comes with some surprising health benefits too — despite the increase in pollution or stress from the hustle, bustle, and daily gridlock. A study found that moving to a busy urban area can increase longevity among older adults. While many retirees make the choice to leave big cities for a quieter life and warmer weather, researchers from MIT say heading to coastal metropolises actually adds an extra year to their lives!
Interestingly, however, urban areas aren’t so good for wildlife. A team from the Florida Museum of Natural History says city-dwelling critters are getting bigger and fatter thanks to having more food around in areas packed with humans. Researchers examined the body length and weight of more than 140,000 animals from over 100 North American species over the last 80 years. The result? City slickers like wolves, bobcats, deer, bats, shrews and rodents are really packing on the pounds compared to their rural relatives.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a top priority for many people, and where you live can play a big role in supporting that goal. Find out which five places are regarded as the healthiest cities in America, thanks to their population’s emphasis on health and wellness. Experts ranked these cities based on factors, such as how much residents exercise, how stressed they feel, the amount of rest they get, how many of them smoke and how much alcohol they consume … among other things. So, see which cities really stand out! Let us know what you think in the comments below!
The List: Healthiest Cities in America, According to Experts
1. San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California tops the list of healthiest city in America compared to all the others on expert lists. MindBody Business describes what makes this city stand out: “San Franciscans spend the 3rd highest amount on fitness, beauty, and wellness — on average $331 each month. More than half of residents exercise 90 minutes or more per week, with the most popular workout being yoga. SF also has a high percentage of residents (55%) who get 7-8 hours of sleep every night and the highest number of non-smokers in the US.”
“San Francisco, California, ranked No. 1 due to its residents’ mental and physical health, health insurance coverage and because 83% of its population is vaccinated,” USA Today writes.
NBC Bay Area references a WalletHub report ranking San Francisco as the healthiest city in America. In addition to being tops in the nation for green spaces (which are linked to all sorts of health benefits for city dwellers), it’s also number one overall for healthy food options too. “The report shows San Francisco as one of the cities with most healthy restaurants, highest monthly cost of fruits or vegetables,”
2. Berkeley, California
The Press Democrat reports, “The East Bay city of Berkeley leads the country, the state, and the San Francisco Bay Area in health and wellness. With a population of about 121,000, the city has a unique urban-suburban feel, and offers an endless supply of local bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. Aside from its vibrant culture, Berkeley also offers plenty of outdoor opportunities, including several walking trails and picnic spots at McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.”
And The Nessie adds, “The Bay Area city’s climate is dreamily moderate, with temperatures that rarely fall below 35F or rise above 86F. That’s perfect for outdoor walking, running, hiking, or biking weather. (The easy access to walking and biking trails helps, too.) Residents can also go to not one but three massive year-round farmers markets exploding with local and organic produce, as well as with artisanal cheeses, breads, and more.”
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Minneapolis-St. Paul boasts a high percentage of park and bike trails, as well as a bustling farmers’ market. HGTV says, “Minneapolis was one of the first cities nationwide to add bike trails; it also sets aside a high percentage of the city as parkland. Another healthy draw is the Minneapolis Farmers’ Market. Established in 1937, the market supports some 230 local vendors.”
“This Minnesota city takes the cake as being the healthiest city in the country — for the third year in a row! It was one of the first American cities to create bike trails throughout the metropolis, and there are parks galore all over the city,” FitDay raves.
According to The Nessie, “Living in Minneapolis also provides residents proximity to the Mayo Clinic, often considered the best hospital in the country. It’s in Rochester, which is about an hour and a half away—and its sports medicine clinic is located directly in Minneapolis.”
4. Miami, Florida
Miami residents excel in fitness, sleep quality and spirituality. Business Insider claims “80% of residents work out at least once a week … and 52% of locals say they go to group fitness classes at least once a week — more than any other top city.” Plus, “Miami is also the most well-rested city, with 62% of survey respondents saying they get a full night’s sleep.”
“The Magic City has the highest number of residents who exercise 90 minutes or more per week, with most of that time spent pumping iron. How do we know? The most popular workout in Miami is strength training. Residents also take relationships and spirituality seriously — Miami has the 4th highest number of residents who feel spiritually fulfilled and nearly 70% say they feel close to friends and family,” StayFit305 writes.
5. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is known for its breathtaking natural landscape and active outdoor lifestyle. TOP5.com describes what makes this a healthy city: “The natural landscape is one of the most breathtaking in all of America, with lush forests, mountains and rivers. It’s a city that attracts environmentalists, farm-to-table restaurants, cannabis lovers and liberal thinkers. It’s also a city with a lot of young people. The average age in Boulder is only 28 years old. With a population of 107,349 people, an unemployment rate of only 3.3% and a median home cost of $639,300, it’s one of the happiest and healthiest places to live.”
“In Boulder, outdoor activities aren’t merely hobbies. They’re self-defining. Boulder changes people. Noncommittal joggers move to Boulder and become marathoners. Weekend cyclists become triathletes,” Men’s Journal writes.
The Nessie gives this Colorado town kudos for having the best overall lung capacity. “Of course, you don’t have to be an athlete to take advantage of the fact that the city’s 5,430 feet above sea level. The altitude —once you take some time to adjust, of course—and help your muscles perform better and stronger.”
Do you live in a healthy city? Let us know in the comments how it impacts your overall well-being!
You might also be interested in:
- Cleanest Cities in America
- Friendliest Cities in America
- Best Places to Live in America
- Best Places to Live Off-Grid
- MindBody Business
- USA Today
- The Press Democrat
- The Nessie
- Business Insider
- Men’s Journal
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.