INDIANAPOLIS–Indianapolis and Fort Wayne are two of America’s “least fit” cities, according to the annual American Fitness Index.
Out of America’s 100 largest cities, Indianapolis ranks 94th and Fort Wayne ranks 92nd. Each city was evaluated using 33 health behaviors, chronic diseases, and community infrastructure indicators.
NiCole Keith is the President of the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM). She is also the Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and a Professor at the Indiana University School of Health and Human Services at IUPUI. Keith says the low score for Indianapolis is not surprising.
“Indianapolis is always ranked quite low on this index score. We’re doing better, though, when you look at the percent of people who have exercised in the last 30 days in Indianapolis, which is great,” says Keith.
As for where Indianapolis can get better, Keith says that the list is long.
“Are we meeting the U.S. physical activity guidelines for aerobic exercise and strength activities? Only about 19 percent of us do. We need to exercise for about 150 minutes a week and very few people do that,” says Keith.
She says adding physical activity to your daily routine is not as hard as you might think.
“If you’re gardening or cleaning your house and your heart rate is getting up high enough, that can count as physical activity. Especially during the coronavirus, get out of your house in a safe way. Go for a walk. Go to the park. Take your kids to the playground. Be at a safe physical distance from people outside of your family, but it’s really important for you to get outside and get moving,” says Keith.
Keith says when it comes to infrastructure, Indianapolis is on the right track but needs to do more.
“With the Red Line and with the investment Indy has made in public transportation, that’s really great. But we need to have sidewalks that actually go to something and not just connected to each other. Once we get out on to a busy street, there’s nowhere for people to safely walk,” says Keith.
This is the 13th year of the Fitness Index. Arlington, Virginia was ranked the fittest city. That’s the third year in a row Arlington has been ranked #1. Oklahoma City came in last at 100th.
You can read the full index report right here