Couch Potato Land
It appears that many Texans ought to put “be more active” on their list of New Year’s resolutions, although the odds may be stacked against them.
According to a new study by WalletHub, Texas is the worst state for an active lifestyle, as Lone Star cities filled out five of the bottom 10 on a list of 100. Looking at Nos. 80-90, there are five more Texas cities that rank poorly.
Austin had the best ranking in Texas at No. 28, followed by Plano at No. 30. Outside of Austin and Plano, none of the 13 Texas cities placed higher than 72. Lubbock was 72, Dallas was 80, Garland was 84, Corpus Christi was 88 and El Paso was 89. San Antonio, No. 90, and Houston, No. 91, were followed by Irving at 92, Fort Worth at 93 and Arlington at 97. Laredo in South Texas was dead last.
For its list, WalletHub examined 25 metrics across two categories: budget and participation, and sports facilities and outdoor environment. The goal: to determine how well a city accommodates or encourages an active lifestyle.
In budget and participation, WalletHub looked at a city’s average cost for things like a monthly gym membership, renting a tennis court for an hour and playing a round of golf, as well as the percentage of people who participate in any sort of physical activity. Fort Worth, Arlington and El Paso had the three lowest percentages of people doing any sort of physical activity.
For sports facilities and outdoor environment, researchers considered per capita measurements for the number of swimming pools, basketball hoops, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, park acreage and playgrounds, as well as a city’s walkability score. Corpus Christi had the fourth-highest number of park playgrounds per capita but still placed 88 overall. Laredo was last in the number of park playgrounds and overall.
As for the more active-friendly Texas cities, Austin and Plano ranked better because of strong marks in the budget and participation category, but they were average in the heavier-weighted sports facilities and outdoor environment.
The five best cities for an active lifestyle were Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Reno, Nevada; and Orlando, Florida.