Which U.S. states are most active has a lot more to do with access to trails and state parks than anything else. So suggest the results of data gathered from 22 million users of the MapMyFitness suite of apps (MapMyWalk, MapMyRun, MapMyHike, and MapMyRide), which finds that easy access to nature is probably the most important motivator in getting Americans off their butts.
You can probably guess the most active states in the country. In Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Colorado, MapMyFitness users log, on average, anywhere from 80 to 90 minutes a week of fitness activity. It’s not surprising: these states generally have pleasant weather, and lots of beautiful vistas on hiking trails and in state parks. In all of these states, save Arizona, running is the most popular fitness activity, and hovers around 40% of what all users are doing for physical fitness, followed by walking and cycling. In Arizona, though, walking is the most popular activity, because hey, it’s hard to motivate yourself for a jog through the desert.
And what are the least active areas in the country? Washington, D.C. (43.2 minutes per week), North Dakota (46.3 minutes), Delaware (48.5), and, bizarrely, Hawaii (49.4 minutes per week). Hawaii’s low overall fitness may be due to the fact that the MapMyFitness family of apps doesn’t accurately track swimming-based activities.
Overall, Americans exercise, on average, 73.2 minutes of exercise per week. And that’s bad news: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. Even California, which averages 89.3 minutes per week in fitness, is a state of slovenly, stay-at-home fat-asses compared to what Americans should be averaging. Maybe we should all just stop reading (or, in my case, writing) and go for a run?
Take all of this with a grain of salt, of course. Although 22 million users is a strong sample size, all of these results could be skewed toward which states are the most tech savvy. Californians might not be the most physically active at the end of the day, nor North Dakotans the most sedentary: they might just be more or less likely to pull out their phones during a jog.