Of all the large cities in the U.S., Seattle has the highest share of physically active adults, according to one new study.

Nearly 85% of Seattle adults reported that they regularly engage in physical activity, the study found.

Among the nation’s small cities, Bellevue came in at the top, with 86% of adults reporting they exercise routinely.

And among midsize cities, Vancouver, Washington, ranked 10th in the nation, with 80.7% of adults reporting regular physical activity.

To find those numbers, online business resource Chamber Of Commerce looked at information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the share of adults who reported engaging in leisure-time physical activity — such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening or walking for exercise.

The analysis found that, in general, Western states had higher levels of physically active adults when compared with other regions in the U.S., especially the South.


Leading states for physically active adults are Colorado (80.9%), Washington (80.6%), Minnesota (80.3%) and Vermont (79.8%). On the flip side, Mississippi (61.2%), Oklahoma (65%), Kentucky (66.6%) and Louisiana (67.5%) reported the lowest levels of activity.

After Seattle, the most active large city was Minneapolis (81.1%), followed by San Francisco (80.9%), Denver (80.9%) and Colorado Springs (80.1%).

The study’s authors said that while states with high levels of activity have plenty of options for outdoor activities, the more likely explanation is each state’s income levels. The authors cited research that has previously shown a correlation between higher levels of income and physical activity, noting that many states that topped the list of most active adults have higher typical incomes than less active states.

Here is a summary of the data for Seattle:

  • Share of adults who are physically active: 84.7%
  • Share of adults who are obese: 22.1%
  • Share of adults with high cholesterol: 27.3%
  • Share of adults with diabetes: 7.4%
  • Share of adults with depression: 23.5%

For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:

  • Share of adults who are physically active: 74.4%
  • Share of adults who are obese: 31.3%
  • Share of adults with high cholesterol: 28.7%
  • Share of adults with diabetes: 9.7%
  • Share of adults with depression: 18.9%

But super active folks should know there can be too much of a good thing, according to Dr. Brian Liem, a UW Medicine physician at the Sports Medicine Center at Husky Stadium.

The main training errors are poor prior conditioning and trying to do too much, too fast, he explained in an article from UW Medicine on overtraining and sports injuries.

“Signs that you’re exercising too much are when you have pain that’s not a good sort of sore,” Liem explained. “It’s the kind of pain that prevents you from doing daily activities. If you need to bend down to tie your shoe and you start second-guessing it due to your pain, then you’ve probably pushed too far.”

For the best outcomes, UW Medicine suggests starting at your own pace and gradually increasing physical activity, prioritizing rest days and proper nutrition, stretching your muscles and paying attention to warning signs. In addition to the kind of pain Liem described, other signs of overexercise can include shin splints, tendinitis and stress fractures.