Indianapolis ranks at the bottom of nationwide fitness list

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 19, 2015)-- An annual survey released Tuesday ranks the Circle City 50 out of 50 metro areas across the United States when it comes to physical fitness. It's a claim that has some Hoosiers saying hold up!

Tuesday night we found runners, walkers, and bikers everywhere on the Monon Trail, despite the news that Indy came in dead last.

"We have plenty to do outside. We have plenty of trails and parks to go to," said Tom Hayes, while biking.

But we don't have as many outdoor options as other cities, according to the report. The study looks at the amount of bike paths and walking paths in a city, along with access to outdoor activities. So, cities like Denver, with their mountains, and Minneapolis/St.Paul, with their lakes, naturally top Indianapolis.

Other factors are included too, like money spent on parks and access by a city's residents to fresh fruits and vegetables.

"We've made some great changes in the last couple of years, and there's more stuff to be done, said Chelsy Winters, Associate Director of Health Partnership Programs at the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, "Our goal is to continuously improve. So when we look at the Indianapolis area and the metro area, how do we compare ourselves to ourselves each year? Are we making changes? Are we improving, and are we really supporting our residents who are trying to make healthy changes?"

Winters works with a group known as the Top 10 Coalition. Their goal is to get the Indianapolis metro area off the bottom of these health rankings, with a tailored focus including:

  • Increasing physical activity
  • Improving nutrition
  • Decreasing smoking
  • Improving the built environment, meaning adding walking and bike paths

Critics of the fitness index said it looks at too many factors, too many years, and too much data.

Jesse Davis at the Runner's Forum in Broad Ripple said running in Indy has never been more popular, and he believes the metro will eventually creep up the list.

"I think Indiana gets a pretty bad rap as far as physical fitness," he said, "I feel like the city has been really progressive on increasing physical activity."

Washington D.C., Minneapolis, and San Diego rounded out the top three most fit U.S. cities.

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