Fit or Fat

Houston makes strides among America's fittest cities — but finish line is still far

Houston makes strides among fit cities — but finish line is still far

Woman frustrated about playing tennis
Houston's now middle-of-the-pack for an active life. Photo by Corey Jenkins/Getty Images

If your goal for 2019 is to develop a consistent fitness regimen and maintain a healthy lifestyle, Houston might be the city for you, despite its flabby first impression.

According to personal finance website WalletHub, Houston ranks 42 out of 100 in its annual list of the best and worst cities in America for an active lifestyle.

Although scoring near the middle might not seem that great, Houston has made outstanding improvements compared to three years ago. In 2016, WalletHub ranked us an embarrassing 82 out of 100. This jump in numbers is an encouraging nod to Houston's potential.

To get its list, WalletHub evaluated 38 key indicators of an active lifestyle through two main categories: budget and participation and sports and outdoors. Some of the 38 factors included monthly fitness club fees, average cost of sports apparel, number of basketball hoops, and — curiously — the cost of bowling.

Among major Texas cities, Austin nabbed the highest rank at No. 18. Dallas followed Houston at No. 53, then Lubbock (No. 57), San Antonio (No. 61), Plano (No. 68), Laredo (No. 71), El Paso (No. 80), Fort Worth (No. 84), and Corpus Christi (No. 89).

Making a particularly bad showing were the three Texas cities in the bottom 10: Garland (No. 92), Arlington (No. 95), and Irving (No. 97).

Notably, El Paso ranked second for having the lowest monthly fitness club fees, but No. 77 for the highest percentage of physically inactive residents. Fort Worth scored a dismal 94th for the fewest swimming pools per capita, while Irving is No. 97 in fewest basketball hoops per capita.

So where should the fit-minded be calling home? Honolulu is tops, followed by Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.