In the Running

San Antonio flexes its muscles in new national exercise ranking

San Antonio flexes its muscles in new national exercise ranking

CycleBar cycling class fitness
San Antonio is a fit city. CycleBar/Instagram

Congratulations, San Antonio. Compared with your big-city neighbors in Texas, more of you are spinning, cycling, strolling, and sweating.

The newly released Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, based on a nationwide survey, shows 55 percent of adults in the San Antonio area had exercised 30 minutes or more at least three days during the previous week. That puts San Antonio at No. 1 for regularity of exercise among the state’s four major metro areas.

The index counts physical activity reported in 2016.

Among all 189 U.S. communities included in the index, however, San Antonio musters a national ranking of only 65th. Still, that’s a higher ranking than Austin (No. 70, with 54.5 percent exercising regularly); Dallas-Fort Worth (No. 77, with 54.1 percent exercising regularly); and (Houston, No. 115, with 52.3 percent exercising regularly).

Then-Mayor Julián Castro established the Mayor’s Fitness Council in 2010 in an effort to make the Alamo City “one of the healthiest and most activity communities in the nation.”

In a March 2013 opinion piece published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine, Castro wrote that he’d devoted a significant amount of time “to changing health-related perceptions and instilling a local culture that embraces fitness and better nutrition. Preventable conditions like diabetes and obesity have kept too many San Antonians from reaching their full potential and living a life of dignity.”

San Antonio’s newly elected mayor, Ron Nirenberg, continues to carry the fitness torch that was lit by Castro. A former competitive bodybuilder, powerlifter, and fitness consultant, Nirenberg encourages fellow San Antonians to walk, swim, cycle, and engage in other physical activities.

“Staying active is just as important for your mental health as it is for your physical health,” Nirenberg, who grew up in Austin, told MD Monthly magazine. “Maintaining that balance helps your mood and productivity, along with many other health benefits.”

What you might call the fittest area in Texas, according to the index, is Killeen-Temple, where 57.7 percent of adults reported getting regular exercise. That earns Killeen-Temple a national ranking of 24th. Also sitting above San Antonio are El Paso (No. 39, with 56.7 percent exercising regularly) and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission (No. 40, also with 56.7 percent exercising regularly).

Boulder, Colorado muscles its way into the top spot on the national index, with 69.6 percent of adults reporting regular exercise, followed by Fort Collins, Colorado (No. 2, with 67.9 percent exercising regularly) and San Luis Obispo, California (No. 3, with 67 percent exercising regularly).