Photo by Isaac Wendland on Unsplash

Very few of us want 2022 to be anything like 2021 was. One complaint high on our list of things we don't want to repeat is being stuck at home. But when you are confined to your city, suburb, or neighborhood, some turn out to be better than others concerning those New Year's resolutions.

With “exercising more” and “losing weight” among the top four New Year’s resolutions people generally made, having the means to get or stay fit around us may just factor into whether or not we keep those resolutions!

The personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2022’s Best & Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

And Arizona scores pretty well, especially in some surprising areas.

Best vs. Worst

  • Gilbert, Arizona, has the most public golf courses (per square root of population), 0.081102, which is 41.3 times more than in Laredo, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.001964.
  • Tucson, Arizona, has the most fitness trainers and aerobics instructors per 100,000 residents, 195, which is 10.3 times more than in Bakersfield, California, the city with the fewest at 19.
  • Orlando, Florida, has the most sporting-goods stores (per square root of population), 0.388726, which is 12.7 times more than in North Las Vegas, Nevada, the city with the fewest at 0.030532.
  • New York has the most playgrounds (per square root of population), 0.664460, which is 13.4 times more than in Hialeah, Florida, the city with the fewest at 0.049557.


To determine where Americans have the best chance of remaining active, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest U.S. cities across 34 key metrics. The data set ranges from the average monthly fitness-club fee to bike score to the share of physically inactive adults.

Best Cities for an Active LifestyleWorst Cities for an Active Lifestyle
1. San Francisco, CA91. Jersey City, NJ
2. Chicago, IL92. Bakersfield, CA
3. New York, NY93. Newark, NJ
4. San Diego, CA94. Santa Ana, CA
5. Honolulu, HI95. San Bernardino, CA
6. Los Angeles, CA96. Irving, TX
7. Portland, OR97. Fort Wayne, IN
8. Philadelphia, PA98. Wichita, KS
9. Denver, CO99. Winston-Salem, NC
10. Seattle, WA100. North Las Vegas, NV

To view the full report and your city’s rank, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-cities-for-an-active-lifestyle/8817
Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein


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I think it’s fair to say we all want that #fitlife, especially with Spring around the corner — as well as Gaypril on the way. Whether it’s pool season yet or not, everyone would choose to look fit over not looking fit, if they could have it with a snap of their fingers. OK, the vast majority of us would.

If you’ve met me, or have been reading my articles, you know that I live, sleep, eat and breathe fitness; it’s my heart and soul. That being said, I’m here to tell you that the concept of “fitness” is oftentimes tragically misunderstood.

Before you get too aggressive with your goal for pool season, let’s dive a bit deeper into what fitness means on the inside versus what it looks like on the outside, and common misconceptions around this concept.

1. Beware of the cultural pitfalls and misleading information around fitness.

Most of the bodies you see in the media are probably not real, they just look very convincing. As a trainer who also moonlights as a photographer and Photoshop wizard, I’m telling you that it is incredibly easy to alter pictures in materially misleading ways. Once you know the tricks of the trade, the imposters are easily spotted. But that’s not what this is about.

The point is: to the untrained eye, it can be devastatingly defeating to see such impossible standards. It seems as though the cultural pressure to look a certain way, to look perfect, has spread all the way from runway models to fitness novices with the help of smartphone apps.

The truth is that we fitness models look that cut, and that lean for only a couple days at a time. That’s it! In many cases, months or even close to a year of training, dieting and programming all go into looking like that for ONE day. Let that sink in for a second. Day to day, I am less cut, less tan and much flatter muscularly than what you see in some of my pictures. That’s just the nature of the beast. So, when you have a bad day on the scale, in the mirror or in any other scenario, remember that we’re all human and that the most legitimate photos you’re comparing yourself against were from someone’s very best day. That should help to keep things in perspective.

2. Most people want the results, without actually doing the work.

Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life. Further, fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else.

Fitness is confidence, toughness, dedication, coordination, power, balance, speed, strength (both literally and figuratively) and persistence in the face of all obstacles. This includes control over your attitude, your mood, your sleep, your schedule, your diet and other aspects of your life. This means getting that workout in when you least feel like it.

It’s not easy, and it’s definitely a grind that has good and bad days. You must show up and keep working on the days you’re tired, stressed, rushed, defeated, doubtful, afraid and so on. The days you actually have to overcome something instead of just checking your workout off your to-do list are the days you have the greatest opportunity to really make progress, push your body and see the most improvement.

3. Fitness is really an internal mindset. The external physique is the fringe benefit.

I’ve said this time and time again, and it might sound strange coming from such an aesthetic-focused trainer, but you are not your body. Your body is a tool, it’s a means to an end, to express your internal mindset, belief system, discipline and dedication to your workout program. Your physique will come and go. Your strength will come and go. Your abilities will wax and wane depending on what you’re training for at the time.

The outside will, and should, be always changing, but the inside is what we’re really after here. Good trainers want to train you to believe in yourself when sh*t gets hard. We want to train you to be resilient in the face of injury, obstacles and other setbacks. We want you to set ambitious goals and shoot for the moon because you can get there with smart programming and relentless will (do yourself a favor and ditch the crash diets and the photo editing software).

So, as you make your spring preparations for swimsuit season, try focusing on developing a sterling, unshakeable internal character and the muscles will come along the way, this I promise you.

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