We all know the basics of living a healthy life – eat well, exercise, and practice mindfulness, however, it can be much easier said than done. You can live a life of health and wellness anywhere in the world, but some places just make it much easier to do so.
Here’s where to live for health, happiness and anti-aging — and if you’re not quite ready to pack your bags, we’ve included tips you can take to keep you healthy and happy in your hometown.
1. WASHINGTON, D.C.– Currently ranked #1 by Forbes for American’s Healthiest City of 2014, Washington D.C. residents are physically active (81% exercised in the last 30 days) and fewer than 22% were obese. The smoking rate in D.C. remains under 13% and Capital residents are more likely to bike or walk to work or take public transportation. Another big draw is city fixtures such as the Eastern Market, which has been selling local farm-fresh produce for more than 135 years. Additionally, Washington D.C. boasts a much higher number of primary health providers per capita than many other metropolitan areas, a fact that perhaps plays a role in the area’s lower death rate for diabetes and lower percentage of people with all types of heart disease.
2. MINNEAPOLIS – ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA – “In 2013 the United Health Foundation ranked Minnesota as the healthiest state for seniors.” With high volunteerism, a strong local economy, incredible parks and of course the Mayo Clinic, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the nation’s top medical center, just a short drive away, the Twin Cities have won the best place for aging well in the United States.
3. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – Named the “Best Place for Eating Right” by Time Magazine, the Bay Area is where the farm-to-table movement began – promoting health by eating local and seasonal produce. But when it comes to nourishing the soul, the city’s vibrant arts, entertainment, and recreational offerings set it apart. While it may seem obvious that those options make people happier, they also make them healthier: Research suggests that attending cultural events may lower blood pressure and help ward off anxiety and depression.
4. HONOLULU, HAWAII – With low BMIs and high cancer-survival rate, the Aloha State has much more than just beautiful beaches to offer their residents. Hawaii’s melting-pot mentality may be a key reason the people of Honolulu are so happy here. “There really is no majority group,” says Bill Haning, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Hawaii. “That leads to a sense of belonging and of being respected that other cities may not enjoy.”
5. DENVER – BOLDER, COLORADO – Outdoors lovers especially love the Mile High City. Colorado is ranked at the very top of percentage of adults (61.9%) who participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity. Colorado also has the lowest percentage of obese residents of any state in the US (can’t help but connect that to the important role fitness plays in the CO. community). With the Rocky Mountains at your fingertips, Denver and Boulder are the best places for keeping fit.
6. SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – San Diego has become a hub for healthy living, People who live here are so much more active than much of the country (they are) but also because they know how to make fitness fun. With beautiful beaches along 70 miles of coastline or the many mountain, desert, or canyon hiking trails, there’s plenty of healthy options that are bound to put a smile on your face while sweat drips from your brow.
7. MADISON, WISCONSIN – With their low crime rates, affordable fresh produce, and beautiful outdoors, it’s no wonder this natural beauty is considered to be one of the healthiest cities in America. Madison is also home to the country’s largest producer-only farmers’ market. (If you didn’t grow it or produce it yourself in Wisconsin, you can’t sell it.)
8. BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Beantown is a walker’s city. Lace up for a walk along Boston Harbor. Plus, enjoy a 2.5-mile walk along the Freedom Trail, which leads to 16 historic sites in downtown Boston. The city is also the birthplace of November Project, a free fitness movement that started in 2011 (and has since spread to other major cities), with a membership of professional athletes and fitness rookies.
9. PORTLAND, OREGON – With more than 10,000 acres of public parks, including 300 miles of greenways and bike boulevards, Portland is a great city for anyone seeking outdoor urban adventure. It is also ranked the top city for women’s health because of it’s screening programs.
A scene from Peshastin Pinnacles State Park in Chelan County.
10. SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – In Seattle locals head to Alki Beach Park, a nearly 136-acre park with a half-mile of beachfront. Another favorite for the physically fit is Discovery Park, a 534-acre park on the shores of Puget Sound that includes more than 11 miles of walking and biking trails.