Research

Revealed: The Best State For Americans To Get Fit For Free

The Best State To Get Fit For Free

Looking to save yourself some dollars this summer? You’re not alone. As prices surge and the cost of living continues to rise, people around the country are cutting back – and gym memberships are often the first to go. 

Physical activity guidelines recommend that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, in addition to two days of muscle strengthening activity. But why should the cost of a workout stop you from living a healthy lifestyle?  

To mark National Physical Fitness Month, our experts have put in the work, so that you don’t have to. We have looked into the number of free running clubs, hiking trails, road cycling routes, public outdoor gyms, and total acreage, cross-referenced with population figures to rank all 50 states across North America by access to their free fitness facilities. 

The average gym membership in the United States costs more than $50 per month, meaning those of you looking to improve your personal finances could save over $600*** each year by choosing to take advantage of free local groups and facilities instead.

The best states to get fit for free:

  1. Wyoming
  2. Alaska
  3. Vermont
  4. Colorado
  5. Maine
  6. North Dakota
  7. Oregon
  8. Montana
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Rhode Island

It seems that Wyoming would be the best place to start if you’re looking to improve your fitness. The ‘cowboy state’ came out in first place, taking the top spot for both the most road cycling routes and hiking trails available. Alaska, in second place, has the most acreage and accessibility to running clubs compared to any other state. 

In terms of which State is best for each aspect of getting fit for free, it’s interesting to see where the top ten fall under each individual category. 

Running: Searching for a club without hefty membership fees attached? You’ll find your best options are in Alaska, Wyoming or Rhode Island.

  1. Alaska 
  2. Wyoming 
  3. Rhode Island 
  4. Vermont
  5. New Hampshire

Hiking: The US is renowned for its picturesque hiking trails, providing a great opportunity to keep fit while enjoying some stunning scenery. 

  1. Wyoming
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Maine
  4. Vermont
  5. Montana

Cycling: For road cyclists, there are a number of routes all over America that are bike-friendly and suitable for all fitness abilities. 

  1. Wyoming
  2. Vermont
  3. North Dakota
  4. Alaska
  5. Iowa

Weight training: There are now a number of well-equipped outdoor gyms dotted around the country that are available for public use – completely free of charge. 

  1. Nevada
  2. Colorado
  3. Vermont
  4. Hawaii
  5. Rhode Island

The worst states to get fit for free:

  1. Georgia
  2. Texas
  3. Louisiana
  4. South Carolina
  5. Oklahoma

Unfortunately, for those living in Georgia, the southern state was revealed as the worst location to get fit for free, ranking among the bottom ten states for four out of five categories; free running clubs, hiking trails, cycling routes, and outdoor gyms. 

The states of Texas and Louisiana also didn’t fare particularly well in the rankings – the Lone Star State featured in the bottom five for free running clubs, hiking trails and cycling routes, while Louisiana graded the worst for both hiking and biking categories. 

Lesson learned 

We know that right now, the gym is a luxury that many cannot afford. But our research shows that there’s no reason for financial stress to stand in the way of staying active and enjoying a quality work-out. 

So whether you’d rather swap the StairMaster for outdoor hiking trails, switch the Peleton for cycling around your neighborhood, or ditch the dumbbells for a session at an outdoor gym near you, there are plenty of locations for you to get fit for free. 

Methodology

For this study, we looked at all 50 states across North America. Five metrics were taken into consideration; the number of free running clubs, hiking trails, road cycling routes, outdoor gyms, and total acreage of each State.

Every data point was cross-referenced with the population of each State, to find out which ranked highest for free facilities per 100,000 people.

Each city was given a score of one to 50 based on where they ranked in the list, with one being the best and 50 being the worst. Some cities were given the same score if they ranked the same as each other. 

Sources:
*
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr112.pdf
**www.ibisworld.com/us/bed/adult-obesity-rate/112885/
***stronghomegym.com/average-gym-membership-costs/