Few cities are as devoted as Minneapolis, Minn., to providing outdoor amenities to residents. Minneapolis’ park system, which covers nearly 17 percent of the city, has been called the best in the country by several organizations, including The Trust for Public Land. So it’s no surprise that Minneapolis has consistently been ranked as one of the fittest cities in the country. People in Minneapolis like to get moving, and the access this city provides to exercise opportunities was a big reason why it made our list of the Top 10 Healthiest Cities.
On top of offering activities from hiking and biking to swimming, kayaking, cross-country skiing and nearly every sport you can think of, Minneapolis does well when it comes to healthy behaviors. Recreational centers and health clubs provide even more indoor exercise options. Fewer than 14 percent of residents smoke in Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, Bloomington and 43 other cities, while more than 87 percent participate in physical activities on a regular basis, according to County Health Rankings. Minneapolis ranks well in health-care statistics, particularly it’s high ratio of doctors, dentists and mental-health providers. Fewer than 11 percent of residents in Minneapolis are uninsured, and most get annual checkups and health screenings.
Residents breath relatively clean air and drink unpolluted water as Minneapolis has few environmental red flags according to the EPA. Recycling, composting, and walking or biking to work is a way of life for many people living in Minneapolis. A large farmers market at Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis (which made our Top 10 Downtowns list) draws lovers of locally grown fruits and vegetables, while several smaller markets make it easy for just about anyone to get their hands on healthy foods.