The District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) has been declared the fittest of the 50 largest cities in the United States. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) using their American Fitness Index (TM) AFI has found that the overall health and fitness of Washington, D.C. ranks first nationally. The index is a composite which includes personal health information such as eating 5 fruits or vegetables daily, exercise regularly, non-smokers, and a variety of community level rankings. Available parkland, primary care providers, number of those insured all went into the community ranking. If the mayors of the U.S. were ranked for fitness it would be noted that Mayor Fenty would be among the fittest mayors in the country and D.C. would deserve bonus points for his efforts. He regularly participates in triathlons and marathons demonstrating to those in the city the significance and value of regular exercise. By swimming, running, and biking, Mayor Fenty shows that there is more than one way to get your workout in.
DC is previously held the number one position for the American Podiatric Medical Association and Prevention Magazine’s “Best Walking Cities”.
With the current epidemic of obesity and the resulting increase in chronic diseases, disability, and mortality, it is important for everyone who can to get the recommended amount of exercise and have healthy lifestyle habits. It is likely that one day many primary care providers will have multiple health consultants within their offices including perhaps a fitness consultant such as a certified trainer, nutritionist, and a motivator perhaps a psychologist to help with dietary and fitness lifestyle changes.
For more information on the ranking of cities and the programs supporting this undertaking visit: http://www.americanfitnessindex.org/
The ACSM is undertaking a push to have fitness and encouragement for lifestyle changes that dramatically lower the risk of chronic disease. The message is being delivered to the U.S. Congress, the President, and Health and Human Services. In addition to organizational messages, it is important that individuals contact their representatives to indicate how important they feel this is to decreasing healthcare costs and improving overall health.
In the upcoming days and weeks I will try to detail some of these issues and should have brief discussions of “sitting disease”, place a 5K beginners schedule online, a guide for beginning runner’s long run schedule for marathon training, and rationale for a program I call “Think, Stop, Think”. Think, Stop, Think is what we all should do. It is important to take a break from our daily work, particularly those with sitting down jobs and do something else. That something else is ideally exercise and movement. 30-50 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days per week will meet your requirements for aerobic exercise and is great for a mental break which refreshes in many ways. My fellow running friends and many exercise walkers already understand this.
The top 15 cities ranked by the AFI are:
1. Washington, DC
2. Minneapolis-St. Paul
5. San Francisco
6. Seattle, WA
7. Portland, OR
8. San Diego, CA
9. Austin, TX
10. Virginia Beach, VA
11. Hartford, CN
12. Sacramento, CA
13. San Jose, CA
14. Cincinnati, OH
15. Atlanta, GA