From Arlington’s vast array of workout options to the high levels of education and income among its residents, local fitness and health professionals believe there are plenty of likely reasons why Arlington was recently crowned as “America’s fittest city.”
The ranking was determined by the American College of Sports Medicine’s American Fitness Index and has made headlines across the country. In the report, Arlington was ranked the fittest city for “achieving a balance of both healthy behaviors and community infrastructure” as well as placing in the top 10 in 13 of the group’s 33 ranking indicators.
The report also found that 63.9 percent of Arlington residents are in “very good” or “excellent” health (compared to the report’s average of 51.9 percent), and that Arlington had lowest rate of smoking among its 99 peer cities at 5.9 percent.
Ginny Wright, founder and owner of BbG Fitness in Arlington, said she thinks income and education play a role in the county’s fitness ranking. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Arlington is $108,706 and the average age is 34.1. Arlington also has the highest percentage of residents with a bachelor degree in the D.C. area, according to the county.
Scott Parker, local restauranteur and co-owner of soon-to-open studio Bash Boxing, believes there’s a direct connection between people getting educated and understanding the importance of fitness.
“There’s definitely a lot of people here that care about being fit,” he said.
But Wright also noticed that there has been a significant increase in fitness studios and other gym facilities since she launched BbG Fitness 15 years ago, giving people considerably more options than they once had.
“I had very little competition,” Wright said.
Chris Farley, owner of Pacers Running, estimated that there are 10 times the number of fitness studio options now since Pacers Running opened in 2004. But he also believes that the county’s bevy of trails has provided an accessible, scenic option for runners looking to get out of the gym — in all, the report found that Arlington has 49 miles of paved mixed-use trails.
Yet Kimberly Barbano, a trainer and instructor at Next Phase Studio, believes studios do more than simply give people options to work out. With instructors like herself on hand, she feels the county’s influx of studios has provided a valuable resource to Arlingtonians looking to get in shape.
“I think it’s really exciting and a testament to how hard the studios work,” Barbano said of the “fittest city” designation.
As an Arlingtonian for most of his life, Farley also believes people in the county simply have more driven personalities.
“Fitness really matters to people who live in Arlington,” he said. “They have the mindset.”
Dr. Reuben Varghese, the public health director at Arlington County, said Arlington’s ranking does not surprise him, as this is not the first report to award Arlington high health marks. But he cautioned that the fitness ranking only tells part of the story about the health of county residents.
“People are surprised that with life expectancy within a mile distance of Arlington between Rosslyn and the Buckingham area, there’s a 10-year difference of life expectancy,” he said. “So it’s very good news about the health behaviors overall are doing well. However, there are health disparities that do exist and so we need to remember we can always improve.”
Photo via Facebook
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
A former ABC News producer whose Columbia Pike apartment was raided by the FBI last year has been sentenced. James Gordon Meek, 53, pleaded guilty in July to transportation and…
Metrorail service was suspended on the Blue and Yellow lines today after a train derailed.
4 bedroom 3 bath 2 car garage 1/4 acre Jamestown Williamsburg Yorktown pyramid
At Generation Hope, we’re dedicated to supporting teen parents in college as they work toward earning their degrees. We are in need of caring child care volunteers for upcoming events on Saturday, October 21st (in Washington, DC), and Saturday, November 4th (in Arlington, VA). Join our growing volunteer community and support us at an event this fall!
At all of our events, we provide free onsite child care for the children of the teen parents we serve, creating a nurturing environment for the kiddos while their parents learn valuable life skills and build community.
If you enjoy working with children and are looking to make an immediate impact in your community, please visit https://www.generationhope.org/volunteer to learn more.
Join us for Arlington’s biggest civil rights & social justice event of the year. The banquet is back in person at the Arlington Campus of George Mason University.
Our keynote speaker this year is Symone Sanders from MSNBC and former Chief of Staff for Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The Master of Ceremonies is Joshua Cole, former state delegate, NAACP President, and local pastor.
Tickets/seating are limited. Purchase your ticket today! Sponsorship opportunities available.
Cody Chance and Dick Nathan of Long & Foster are hosting an online workshop on the topic of “down-sizing” Wednesday, October 4 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Every great endeavor begins with a great plan. This workshop will give you the tools