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Iowa’s 50
Top Cities for Fit Lifestyles

2020

Iowa is not just a flyover state but a land of opportunity and cultural transformation. Iowa’s sprawling valleys, limestone caves, and rocky cliffs welcome all to build their fitness routines outdoors. Top-ranked yoga studios push residents and tourists alike to focus on mental wellness. The larger cities in Iowa have a modern energy for those seeking a health and wellness reset while the vast stretches of outdoor wonders make active lifestyles entertaining.

Interesting things to know about Iowa: 

  • Southeast Iowa is a hub of Transcendental Meditation.
  • Several Olympic gymnasts live in Des Moines and train at the renowned Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute. 
  • RAGBRAI, the largest bike touring event in the world, takes place in Iowa.
22 %

The percentage of adults who report excessive drinking. Heavy drinking is linked to higher blood pressure, poorer liver function, increased stroke risk and larger waistlines.

23 %

The percentage of adults who report lack of physical activity.

32 %

The percentage of adults who report a BMI — or body mass index — above 30%. Higher BMI may be an indicator of greater risk to physical health.

Iowa

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1
Marshalltown, Iowa
Marshalltow.
Fit Score: 77.02

Marshalltown, IA

Population 27,068
Exercise Opportunities 820
Physical Inactivity 260
Access to Healthy Food 50
Obesity 340
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.26
Smoking 140
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 180
Frequent Mental Distress 10

2
Fairfield, Iowa
Fairfield
Fit Score: 76.14

Fairfield, IA

Population 10,414
Exercise Opportunities 670
Physical Inactivity 200
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 290
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.47
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.2
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 180
Frequent Mental Distress 10

3
Atlantic, Iowa
Atlantic
Fit Score: 75.72

Atlantic, IA

Population 6,577
Exercise Opportunities 770
Physical Inactivity 240
Access to Healthy Food 80
Obesity 350
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.05
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.2
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 180
Frequent Mental Distress 11

4
Spirit Lake, Iowa
Spirit Lake
Fit Score: 75.15

Spirit Lake, IA

Population 5,070
Exercise Opportunities 920
Physical Inactivity 230
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 310
Air pollution (PM2.5) 2.8
Smoking 130
Frequent Physical Distress 8
Poor Physical Health Days 2.7
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 200
Frequent Mental Distress 9

5
Storm Lake, Iowa
Storm Lake
Fit Score: 74.95

Storm Lake, IA

Population 10,458
Exercise Opportunities 740
Physical Inactivity 240
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 330
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.05
Smoking 140
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.2
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 10

6
Johnston, Iowa
Johnston
Fit Score: 74.9

Johnston, IA

Population 22,040
Exercise Opportunities 930
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 290
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.01
Smoking 170
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

7
Creston, Iowa
Creston
Fit Score: 74.76

Creston, IA

Population 7,788
Exercise Opportunities 870
Physical Inactivity 250
Access to Healthy Food 60
Obesity 390
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.12
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.2
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

8
Oelwein, Iowa
Oelwein
Fit Score: 74.68

Oelwein, IA

Population 5,942
Exercise Opportunities 780
Physical Inactivity 290
Access to Healthy Food 20
Obesity 340
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.29
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.9
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

9
Estherville, Iowa
Estherville
Fit Score: 74.68

Estherville, IA

Population 5,686
Exercise Opportunities 820
Physical Inactivity 230
Access to Healthy Food 90
Obesity 370
Air pollution (PM2.5) 2.8
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

10
Webster City, Iowa
Webster Cit.
Fit Score: 74.55

Webster City, IA

Population 7,723
Exercise Opportunities 850
Physical Inactivity 220
Access to Healthy Food 60
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.19
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.7
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 200
Frequent Mental Distress 10

11
Norwalk, Iowa
Norwalk
Fit Score: 74.46

Norwalk, IA

Population 11,517
Exercise Opportunities 930
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 290
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.01
Smoking 170
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

12
Washington, Iowa
Washington
Fit Score: 74.41

Washington, IA

Population 7,309
Exercise Opportunities 780
Physical Inactivity 200
Access to Healthy Food 20
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.61
Smoking 140
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.8
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 200
Frequent Mental Distress 10

13
Ankeny, Iowa
Ankeny
Fit Score: 74.35

Ankeny, IA

Population 65,284
Exercise Opportunities 930
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 290
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.01
Smoking 170
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

14
DeWitt, Iowa
DeWitt
Fit Score: 74.29

DeWitt, IA

Population 5,169
Exercise Opportunities 810
Physical Inactivity 270
Access to Healthy Food 60
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.64
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

15
Altoona, Iowa
Altoona
Fit Score: 74.28

Altoona, IA

Population 18,844
Exercise Opportunities 930
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 290
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.01
Smoking 170
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

16
Charles City, Iowa
Charles Cit.
Fit Score: 74.2

Charles City, IA

Population 7,369
Exercise Opportunities 730
Physical Inactivity 250
Access to Healthy Food 50
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.01
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

17
Marion, Iowa
Marion
Fit Score: 74.19

Marion, IA

Population 39,979
Exercise Opportunities 920
Physical Inactivity 230
Access to Healthy Food 50
Obesity 330
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.4
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

18
Bondurant, Iowa
Bondurant
Fit Score: 74.19

Bondurant, IA

Population 6,646
Exercise Opportunities 930
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 290
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.01
Smoking 170
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

19
Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Pleasant Hi.
Fit Score: 74.15

Pleasant Hill, IA

Population 10,064
Exercise Opportunities 930
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 290
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.01
Smoking 170
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

20
Red Oak, Iowa
Red Oak
Fit Score: 74.08

Red Oak, IA

Population 5,333
Exercise Opportunities 820
Physical Inactivity 270
Access to Healthy Food 80
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 2.98
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 11
Poor Physical Health Days 3.3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

21
Sioux Center, Iowa
Sioux Cente.
Fit Score: 74

Sioux Center, IA

Population 7,614
Exercise Opportunities 830
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 10
Obesity 280
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.08
Smoking 120
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.7
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

22
Orange City, Iowa
Orange City
Fit Score: 73.95

Orange City, IA

Population 6,107
Exercise Opportunities 830
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 10
Obesity 280
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.08
Smoking 120
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.7
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

23
Osceola, Iowa
Osceola
Fit Score: 73.92

Osceola, IA

Population 5,193
Exercise Opportunities 670
Physical Inactivity 230
Access to Healthy Food 20
Obesity 370
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.12
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.2
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

24
Maquoketa, Iowa
Maquoketa
Fit Score: 73.77

Maquoketa, IA

Population 5,998
Exercise Opportunities 810
Physical Inactivity 270
Access to Healthy Food 60
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.64
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

25
Pella, Iowa
Pella
Fit Score: 73.76

Pella, IA

Population 10,335
Exercise Opportunities 790
Physical Inactivity 240
Access to Healthy Food 80
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.36
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 200
Frequent Mental Distress 11

26
Centerville, Iowa
Centerville
Fit Score: 73.73

Centerville, IA

Population 5,478
Exercise Opportunities 690
Physical Inactivity 330
Access to Healthy Food 50
Obesity 390
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.22
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 180
Frequent Mental Distress 11

27
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapid.
Fit Score: 73.71

Cedar Rapids, IA

Population 133,174
Exercise Opportunities 920
Physical Inactivity 230
Access to Healthy Food 50
Obesity 330
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.4
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

28
Newton, Iowa
Newton
Fit Score: 73.7

Newton, IA

Population 15,209
Exercise Opportunities 780
Physical Inactivity 250
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 340
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.29
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.8
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 200
Frequent Mental Distress 10

29
Grinnell, Iowa
Grinnell
Fit Score: 73.69

Grinnell, IA

Population 9,320
Exercise Opportunities 740
Physical Inactivity 220
Access to Healthy Food 50
Obesity 310
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.36
Smoking 140
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.8
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 200
Frequent Mental Distress 10

30
Clinton, Iowa
Clinton
Fit Score: 73.64

Clinton, IA

Population 25,184
Exercise Opportunities 810
Physical Inactivity 270
Access to Healthy Food 60
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.64
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

31
Burlington, Iowa
Burlington
Fit Score: 73.47

Burlington, IA

Population 24,838
Exercise Opportunities 760
Physical Inactivity 250
Access to Healthy Food 90
Obesity 340
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.75
Smoking 180
Frequent Physical Distress 11
Poor Physical Health Days 3.4
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

32
Clarinda, Iowa
Clarinda
Fit Score: 73.4

Clarinda, IA

Population 5,376
Exercise Opportunities 810
Physical Inactivity 240
Access to Healthy Food 130
Obesity 410
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.15
Smoking 170
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.2
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 190
Frequent Mental Distress 11

33
Spencer, Iowa
Spencer
Fit Score: 73.34

Spencer, IA

Population 11,031
Exercise Opportunities 760
Physical Inactivity 210
Access to Healthy Food 30
Obesity 370
Air pollution (PM2.5) 2.87
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 200
Frequent Mental Distress 10

34
Clive, Iowa
Clive
Fit Score: 73.28

Clive, IA

Population 17,097
Exercise Opportunities 880
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 10
Obesity 280
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.22
Smoking 130
Frequent Physical Distress 8
Poor Physical Health Days 2.5
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 230
Frequent Mental Distress 9

35
Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines
Fit Score: 73.25

Des Moines, IA

Population 216,853
Exercise Opportunities 930
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 290
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.01
Smoking 170
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3.1
Drinking Water Violations Yes
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

36
Bettendorf, Iowa
Bettendorf
Fit Score: 73.23

Bettendorf, IA

Population 36,543
Exercise Opportunities 940
Physical Inactivity 220
Access to Healthy Food 30
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.61
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 220
Frequent Mental Distress 10

37
Hiawatha, Iowa
Hiawatha
Fit Score: 73.21

Hiawatha, IA

Population 7,393
Exercise Opportunities 920
Physical Inactivity 230
Access to Healthy Food 50
Obesity 330
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.4
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

38
Grimes, Iowa
Grimes
Fit Score: 73.18

Grimes, IA

Population 13,562
Exercise Opportunities 880
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 10
Obesity 280
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.22
Smoking 130
Frequent Physical Distress 8
Poor Physical Health Days 2.5
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 230
Frequent Mental Distress 9

39
Waukee, Iowa
Waukee
Fit Score: 73.17

Waukee, IA

Population 22,810
Exercise Opportunities 880
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 10
Obesity 280
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.22
Smoking 130
Frequent Physical Distress 8
Poor Physical Health Days 2.5
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 230
Frequent Mental Distress 9

40
Iowa Falls, Iowa
Iowa Falls
Fit Score: 72.94

Iowa Falls, IA

Population 5,036
Exercise Opportunities 850
Physical Inactivity 210
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 360
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.22
Smoking 140
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.9
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

41
Urbandale, Iowa
Urbandale
Fit Score: 72.93

Urbandale, IA

Population 43,949
Exercise Opportunities 880
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 10
Obesity 280
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.22
Smoking 130
Frequent Physical Distress 8
Poor Physical Health Days 2.5
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 230
Frequent Mental Distress 9

42
Oskaloosa, Iowa
Oskaloosa
Fit Score: 72.9

Oskaloosa, IA

Population 11,426
Exercise Opportunities 790
Physical Inactivity 240
Access to Healthy Food 80
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.36
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 10
Poor Physical Health Days 3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 200
Frequent Mental Distress 11

43
Eldridge, Iowa
Eldridge
Fit Score: 72.84

Eldridge, IA

Population 6,813
Exercise Opportunities 940
Physical Inactivity 220
Access to Healthy Food 30
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.61
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 220
Frequent Mental Distress 10

44
Knoxville, Iowa
Knoxville
Fit Score: 72.64

Knoxville, IA

Population 7,204
Exercise Opportunities 830
Physical Inactivity 240
Access to Healthy Food 30
Obesity 330
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.29
Smoking 140
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.8
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

45
Indianola, Iowa
Indianola
Fit Score: 72.57

Indianola, IA

Population 16,071
Exercise Opportunities 730
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 30
Obesity 330
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.22
Smoking 150
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.8
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

46
West Des Moines, Iowa
West Des Mo.
Fit Score: 72.5

West Des Moines, IA

Population 66,641
Exercise Opportunities 880
Physical Inactivity 190
Access to Healthy Food 10
Obesity 280
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.22
Smoking 130
Frequent Physical Distress 8
Poor Physical Health Days 2.5
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 230
Frequent Mental Distress 9

47
Le Mars, Iowa
Le Mars
Fit Score: 72.47

Le Mars, IA

Population 9,996
Exercise Opportunities 760
Physical Inactivity 260
Access to Healthy Food 10
Obesity 340
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.12
Smoking 140
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.8
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 210
Frequent Mental Distress 10

48
Clear Lake, Iowa
Clear Lake
Fit Score: 72.45

Clear Lake, IA

Population 7,578
Exercise Opportunities 930
Physical Inactivity 220
Access to Healthy Food 40
Obesity 320
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.01
Smoking 140
Frequent Physical Distress 9
Poor Physical Health Days 2.9
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 220
Frequent Mental Distress 10

49
Ottumwa, Iowa
Ottumwa
Fit Score: 72.38

Ottumwa, IA

Population 24,550
Exercise Opportunities 670
Physical Inactivity 300
Access to Healthy Food 220
Obesity 350
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.4
Smoking 180
Frequent Physical Distress 11
Poor Physical Health Days 3.3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 180
Frequent Mental Distress 12

50
Denison, Iowa
Denison
Fit Score: 72.37

Denison, IA

Population 8,406
Exercise Opportunities 770
Physical Inactivity 270
Access to Healthy Food 90
Obesity 330
Air pollution (PM2.5) 3.08
Smoking 160
Frequent Physical Distress 11
Poor Physical Health Days 3.3
Drinking Water Violations No
Excessive Drinking 200
Frequent Mental Distress 11

Didn’t Find Your City in the Top 50?

RankCityPopulationExercise OpportunitiesPhysical InactivityHealthy Food AccessObesityAir Pollution (PM2.5)SmokingDrinkingPhysical DistressFit Score
51Fort Madison10468770280703803.751701903.372.23
52Waverly10153830230203403.261302202.772.23
53Mason City27093930220403203.011402202.972.2
54Davenport102085940220303203.61160220372.2
55Sioux City82396760260103403.121402102.872.12
56Keokuk10274770280703803.751701903.372.05
57Boone12470860210403603.191402102.972.05
58Carroll9812750270103303.121402102.771.9
59Council Bluffs624218202401103703.331702003.271.81
60Asbury5665880240503003.54140230371.44
61Perry7456880190102803.221302302.571.33
62Winterset5318700260303703.081402102.971.1
63Cedar Falls410488302201103103.291502202.871.1
64Mount Pleasant87377902501003403.611702103.170.87
65Anamosa5507770260504003.51602102.870.85
66Waterloo677988302201103103.291502202.870.56
67Muscatine23817810210603403.921502203.270.48
68Fort Dodge24098750260803403.121702103.370.29
69Dubuque57941880240503003.54140230370
70Algona54286402501503602.911402102.969.89
71Decorah7594760230303203.051302302.769.81
72Independence6073750280503303.41602202.869.75
73Vinton5093500240303303.471502102.869.73
74North Liberty19239920170302503.261402502.868.5
75Nevada67519201901002803.261502403.267.7
76Coralville21664920170302503.261402502.867.66
77Glenwood5316600260303603.191502302.867.32
78Iowa City76290920170302503.261402502.867.22
79Ames671549201901002803.261502403.267.12

How Did We Determine the Top Cities for Fit Lifestyles?

We compiled our list of Best Cities for for Fit Lifestyle by looking at 11 key metrics backed by scientific research. Keep reading to find out which metrics we chose and how they affect slumber.