Boston is famous for its educational institutions and rich colonial history, but did you know this is also one of the healthiest cities in the nation? Compared to residents of other areas, Bostonians eat a healthier diet and get more exercise than most U.S. citizens.
First off, Boston is one of the best places in the country to walk. The Massachusetts capital was chosen Prevention magazine’s #2 walking city and came in at #6 on Yahoo Health’s most walkable list.
This home of the Boston Marathon has plenty of great places to walk, starting with the Freedom Trail, that lets you combine keeping fit with brushing up on your American history. The city has initiated WalkBoston, which strives to create a pro-walking atmosphere by making the area safer and easier to get around on by foot.
Businesses and individuals are encouraged to contribute to making Boston more walker-friendly. Awards are offered to businesses that create seating areas and scenic parks, or citizens who work to encourage safety measures for pedestrians. The ultimate aim of WalkBoston is to create access to citywide mobility for citizens of all abilities and incomes.
While Boston is quite walkable, it’s still a major city of over 631,000 people, so it’s faced with the usual big-city problems. According to Sperling’s BestPlaces, the average commute time is 32 minutes, slightly higher than the national average but less than 10% of residents have to deal with commutes over an hour.
While over 75% of U.S. commuters travel by car, just 40.8% of Bostonians do—a little over half the national average. Another 32.52% use mass transit, six times the U.S. average of under 5%. Being less dependent on their autos means that residents of Boston are naturally going to walk more—and see more of their community. Bostonians also have one of the nation’s highest rates of walking to work, as well as bicycling. All that walking helps to explain why Bostonians have a low BMI score, ranking in the top 25%.
Boston has one of the largest numbers of fitness facilities per capita in the country, but the residents don’t work out as much as in some other cities. Still, their general and emotional health ranks around the 80th percentile in Sperling’s rankings.
It’s a good thing Bostonians are so energetic, because the city offers a tempting array of places to dine. The area’s access to fresh, high quality seafood attracts both creative chefs and gourmets. Almost 85% of Boston’s restaurants are local rather than chains and there are 29.6 farmers markets per million people, offering a year-round assortment of fresh produce.
There are four Dahn Yoga centers in Massachusetts, most of them in the Boston area, at Andover, Arlington, Brookline and Harvard Square.