Study: Best Texas Cities for an Active Lifestyle

Featured, Lifestyle

Woman on running path. | Image from Dmitry Belyaev

With ‘exercising more’ and ‘losing weight’ listed among 2022’s top New Year’s resolutions, living in a city that provides for a more active lifestyle is an advantage.

“Those who set New Year’s resolutions typically aspire to have better lives and become better versions of themselves,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub. “This is why exercising and losing weight are among the top resolutions for most people.”

Fortunately, Dallas is the 35th best Texas city to lead an active lifestyle, according to a new study.

“Factors that make Dallas a good place where people can exercise include the large number of tennis courts per capita, the presence of bike-sharing programs, and its proximity to lakes where people can go swimming,” Gonzalez told The Dallas Express.

But WalletHub’s Best & Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle for 2022 found that Austin and Houston outrank Dallas, at No. 15 and No. 19, respectively.

“They have lower bowling costs, a lower share of physically inactive adults, and a larger share of workers who bike or walk to work,” Gonzalez said in an interview. “The two cities also have more swimming pools, volleyball nets, ice skating rinks, skateboard parks, dance studios and fitness centers with virtual classes, bike rental facilities and parkland acres per capita and a higher vaccination rate.”

An active lifestyle, which WalletHub defines as working out or participating in sports indoors or outdoors, includes playing basketball, baseball, swimming, biking, running, hiking, and all other types of exercise.

“Having bike paths and running tracks available and easily accessible encourages people to go jogging or biking and helps them maintain an active lifestyle,” Gonzalez said. “The availability of tennis courts, swimming pools, golf courses, and basketball hoops, among others, help and encourage people to stay active. They also attract both children and adults to sports and being outdoors.”

Plano also ranked in the top half at No. 43 because of its proximity to a lake, according to Gonzalez.

“It has a large number of soccer fields, public and municipal golf courses, and dance studios with virtual classes per capita,” she said. “Fitness centers that offer virtual classes were especially important in light of the pandemic when people couldn’t go to the gym or even go outside but even in regular times, offering virtual classes ensures that more people are able to participate and stay active.”

San Francisco landed in first place, followed by Chicago and New York.

“To catch up with San Francisco, Dallas and Plano would need to have lower average bowling costs, more sporting goods stores and sports clubs per capita, a lower share of physically inactive adults, and more workers who bike or walk to work,” Gonzalez said. “They would also need more basketball hoops, soccer fields, volleyball nets, ice skating rinks, skateboard parks, dance studios and fitness centers with virtual classes, fitness centers, and aerobics instructors and playgrounds per capita, a better bike score and walk score, more access to exercise opportunities, a higher vaccination rate, and better air quality.”

At No. 96 of 100 cities on the list, Irving was among the study’s lowest-ranked cities for an active lifestyle.

“It has a small number of sporting goods stores and sports clubs per capita and a low Google search interest for ‘at home workouts,’ Gonzalez added. “Other areas where the city needs to improve include the number of basketball hoops and tennis courts per capita.”

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