Boston Ranked Best City in the Country for Active Living

A new report praises our walkability, bike-ability, parks, and public transit.

A new study confirms what we’ve known for years: Boston is a top-notch place for living an active lifestyle.

In fact, it’s not just top-notch—it’s the tip-top, number one, best of the best city for active living, according to a report from Gallup and Healthways. That’s what we like to hear.

The report looked at 48 medium-to-large cities across the country, and analyzed four key contributors to active living: availability of bike paths, number of parks, walkability, and access to public transit. The Boston area took first, with an active living score of 74.9. We were followed, in order, by San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. Fort Wayne, Indiana, was named the worst city for active living.

Now, the included metrics may seem slightly banal, but the report notes that cities with exemplary active living scores—defined by those four simple categories—tended to have noticeably lower rates of obesity, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and depression, and noticeably higher rates of healthy eating and physical activity. Walkability and bike-ability, for example, were strongly correlated with low obesity, diabetes, and hypertension rates, while availability of parks seemed to make a positive impact on mental health.

Boston’s a good case study. We’ve got great green spaces, and we’re one of the country’s most walkable (and run-able) cities; we also boast low percentages of overweight and chronically unhealthy residents. Coincidence? We think not.

As for our public transportation—well, everyone’s got room for improvement.