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Fitness study ranks the Fountain Valley in top 25 for Colorado

 

Last updated 8/26/2020 at 2:22pm

Security-Widefield and Fountain were in the top 24 and 25 out of 116 cities in a new ranking of Colorado's fittest cities. Fort Carson was listed at 32, although the statistics for Security-Widefield, Fountain and Fort Carson were virtually identical. Denver came in last.

BarBend.com, the world's leading strength training resource and news outlet, compiled a comprehensive list of the 50 top fittest cities across Colorado, using data backed by studies based on a variety of factors. These were combined to create an overall fitness score out of 100 for each city on the list. Fitness factors in this study include exercise opportunities, access to healthy food, air pollution, drinking water violations, physical inactivity, obesity and smoking, among others.

"As you can see, there are a variety of external factors that can have an impact on a town's overall fitness, which can be detrimental to the population's health, especially where some don't have access to sufficient space for their at-home workouts," says Max Whiteside from BarBend.com. "If this is the case, you can still try and keep fit while going about your work for the day by standing, instead of sitting in front of your laptop, taking frequent breaks in which you can complete some lunges and squats, making mobility work a part of your daily routine. Remember your own bodyweight can also be a useful workout tool!"

Healthy living in Colorado is easy when the beauty of mother nature surrounds you. Yogis, hikers and fitness gurus descend upon Colorado's adventurist culture that encourages active lifestyles and mindfulness. Ski trips, rock climbing and mountain biking make up only a fraction of the fitness activities found in the state. With beautiful landscapes and a health-enthusiast culture, Colorado welcomes those who want to get fit and stay fit in a healthy community.

Interesting things to know about Colorado: 

Colorado has the lowest obesity rate in the nation at 22.9 percent.

Some of the country's tallest mountains are in Colorado.

Farms and ranches cover almost 50 percent of the state's land, making farm-to-table eating a cinch.

The study determined the fittest cities by processing 11 weighted variables based on data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Census Bureau and Country Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR). It assigned weights to the different variables relative to their impact on overall fitness levels.

For each city, the 'Fit Score" is based on the combination of 11 data sets. To unify the data across different cities regardless of the population, the study calculated the data sets per 1,000 or per 30 days depending on the data set. For example, a large city will have more drinking, obesity rate, etc. simply because it has a large population. However, each of these factors is not given equal consideration. Each factor listed is given a weight, with a weight of 10 contributing most to the city's "Fit Score."

Exercise Opportunity Access

Defined as the percentage of the population with access to places for physical activity (parks or recreational facilities), an individual's environment plays a key role in determining their activity level.

Cities that have easier access to more opportunities for exercise are likely to be fitter than those with more difficult access to fewer opportunities. According to the CHR's county health ranking model, "individuals who live closer to sidewalks, parks, and gyms are more likely to exercise."

According to the American Heart Journal, "higher access to exercise opportunities correlated with lower cardiovascular disease mortality." (1) The inverse was also true, that "counties with lower access to exercise facilities had higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes when compared with counties with higher access."

From a public health point of view, access to exercise opportunity is integral for maintaining a healthy population as simply increasing physical activity alone is unlikely to "eliminate the risks of sedentary behavior", according to the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. (2)

For all these reasons, exercise opportunity access was not only included, but weighted heavily in our rankings.

Drinking Water Violations

First off, it is worth noting that voluntary drinking conditions absent fear of dehydration (drinking fluid only when one wants to) has a positive effect on physical performance compared to those who drink in a dictated condition, e.g. drinking a set volume of water during training, according to a novel 2016 study in Biology of Sport. (18)

It is also well known the negative impacts that dehydration can have on physical performance, including perceived exertion and heart rate recovery. (19). For those curious, the optimum temperature for acquiring hydration after sweat inducing activity is 61°F/16°C as determined by The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine in 2013. (20)

So drinking water is important, but so is the quality of that water. In 2018, a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States determined that over the past 34 years, upwards of 28% of the U.S. population lived in areas where the community water systems violated health-based water quality standards. (21)

Water contaminants "can cause immediate illness, such as the 16 million cases of acute gastroenteritis that occur each year at US community water systems."

Other factors that influence the "fit factor"

Physical Inactivity

Limited Access to Healthy Food

Obesity in Adults

Air Pollution 

Smoking in Adults

Frequent Physical Distress

Poor Physical Health Days

Excessive Drinking

Frequent Mental Distress

To see the full ranking, visit https://barbend.com/fit-cities-colorado/

 

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