Where do you live? Is it one of the fittest baby boomer cities in America? The American Physical Therapy Association says, look at the list and see if you’re in good — a.k.a., fit — company.
In the past, older Americans may have accepted weight gain and reduced mobility as part of aging, but not so for baby boomers.
As part of the Fit After 50 campaign, the American Physical Therapy Association and MoveForwardPT.com named the Top 10 Fittest Baby Boomer Cities in America. Where does your city fall?
The survey “examined the top 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S. to determine which cities were best suited to helping baby boomers stay healthy and fit as they age,” said Erin Wendel, senior media relations specialist with the American Physical Therapy Association. Criteria included life expectancy, cardiovascular health and stress levels of boomers, as well as local health care and fitness resources.
The fittest cities are:
- San Jose, Calif.
- San Francisco
- Salt Lake City
- Washington, D.C.
- San Diego
- Raleigh, N.C.
It seems where you live really can affect your health.
“Boomers who live in the fittest baby boomer cities have access to a variety of resources that can have a distinct impact on their health, but they only make a difference if they are used,” said Wendel.
The survey found significant differences between the fittest and least fit cities — Louisville, Ky., ranked No. 50.
“The largest differences we saw between one and 50 were the percentage of people diagnosed with hypertension (47.3 percent in San Jose and 63.4 percent in Louisville, a difference of more than 16 percent); life expectancy (82.48 years in San Jose and 77.03 years in Louisville, a difference of more than five years); and the percentage of people ages 50-65 with health insurance (91.8 percent in San Jose and 85.1 percent in Louisville, a difference of 6.7 percent),” Wendel said.
The fittest cities allow boomers the opportunity to keep moving as they age.
“Parks, gyms and mass transit options in a city offer the opportunity for baby boomers to stay in motion, which physical therapists will tell you is the best way to stay young and fit,” Wendel said.
The survey found some surprises as well.
“We were a bit surprised by some of the cities in the top 10. We thought for sure we’d see one to two cities in Florida, due to the retirement population there, but we were wrong,” Wendel said. “When you consider baby boomers are redefining what it means to age and are typically still working and leading active, healthy lifestyles, and when you examine all of the factors that played a role in determining the list, the top 10 cities make sense.”