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8-Year Partnership with ACSM

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) / Elevance Foundation (formerly Anthem) Fitness Index is in its 15th year, and Asher Agency is privileged to be a partner for the past eight years in announcing the fittest cities in America.

The 2022 ACSM/Elevance Fitness Index evaluated America’s 100 largest cities using 34 health behaviors, chronic diseases, and community infrastructure indicators.


2022 ACSM American Fitness Index Infographic for the Top 10 Fittest Cities

For the fifth year in a row (a record for the Fitness Index) Arlington, Va., has been named “America’s Fittest City.” Rounding out the top 10 fittest cities are Madison, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Washington, D.C.; Seattle, Washington; Irvine, California; Portland, Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado; and Chicago, Illinois (first time in the top 10). Full rankings and scores, a summary report, city comparison tool and other insights are accessible on the Fitness Index website.

One of the most meaningful and concerning results of this year’s evaluation was the state of mental health throughout our nation.

The Fitness Index Advisory Board hypothesized that poor mental health issues might be a significant factor because the pandemic disrupted every phase of our lives, and its decision to hone in on this important factor was accurate. Data indicated that while cities ranked in the top 25 tended to score well in personal health indicators, this did not carry over into mental well-being. Four cities in the top 25 also ranked among the cities with the poorest mental health.

This year’s Fitness Index provides statistical evidence regarding the problem’s scope. On average, 39.6% of residents in the Fitness Index cities reported poor mental health. Nearly 58% of adults in the U.S. perceive a pandemic-related negative effect on emotional or mental health.

The good news is research has shown physical activity — both aerobic and strength training — to be effective in preventing and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, improving mood and self-esteem, and improving quality of sleep. ACSM issued a statement in August 2021 and is offering resources on the benefits of physical activity for those with mental health issues.

Additional findings from the 2022 Fitness Index rankings include:

  • Cities ranking No. 1 for meeting exercise indicators included Arlington, Virginia, for exercising in the previous month; St. Petersburg, Florida, for meeting aerobic activity guidelines; and Anaheim, Irvine, and Santa Ana, California, tied for meeting aerobic and strength activity guidelines.
  • There was an increase in the percentage of Americans exercising in the previous month (77.6%); sleeping 7+ hours/day (68%); and reporting excellent /very good health (55.9%), since last year’s Fitness Index.
  • Tampa, Florida, jumped from No. 57 to No. 25 in the rankings, the largest shift being an improvement in personal health indicators. Tampa saw increases in exercise, sleep, and those in excellent/very good health. It saw decreases in reporting of poor physical health, angina/coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Spokane, Washington, replaced Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the Top 100 cities based on the U.S. Census population data. Spokane ranked No. 30 in the overall rankings.

All of us at Asher salute ACSM and Elevance Foundation for providing this meaningful data and analysis. Please share this information on social media using the hashtag #FitCities2022

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