Why San Diego is One of the Fittest Cities in America

San Diego made the top 10 fittest cities in America list once again! For the second year in a row, the American Fitness Index ranked San Diego 10th in America. It’s no surprise that San Diego was named one of the fittest cities, offering a variety of outdoor activities that keep locals active and healthy!


Areas of Excellence

According to the American Fitness Index, San Diego excels in the following areas:

  • Higher percentage of any physical activity or exercise in the last 30 days
  • Higher percentage meeting CDC aerobic activity guidelines
  • Higher percentage bicycling or walking to work
  • Higher percentage within a 10-minute walk to a park
  • More dog parks per capita
  • Higher level of state requirement for physical education classes
  • Lower percentage obesity

To view the complete 2017 report, visit American Fitness Index.


In honor of San Diego being named one of the fittest cities in America, here are the best local activities to help you stay active and maintain the reputation!


Beach Activities

With miles and miles of beaches and year-round mild weather, San Diego is the perfect place to stay active at the beach. Many companies around San Diego offer guided tours, classes, and rentals to help us explore as well as stay fit.

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

  • Where: Mission Bay, La Jolla Shores, and Coronado
  • Benefits: Improve your balance, strengthen your core, back and abdominal muscles, and increase your endurance.

Sea Kayaking

  • Where: Mission Bay, La Jolla, and Coronado
  • Benefits: Strengthen chest, shoulders, arms, back, and abdominal muscles, reduce stress, and increase cardiovascular fitness.



  • Where: La Jolla Shores, Cardiff, Del Mar, and many more.
  • Benefits: Build leg and core strength while improving your balance, strengthening back and shoulder muscles, and improving heart health.


Hiking Trails

With miles of coastline and trails, San Diego is home to some of the best hiking trails with amazing views. We’ve rounded up the top four hiking trails that keep San Diegans fit.


Torrey Pines State Park

Lace up your walking shoes and hike the multiple trails that Torrey Pines State Park has to offer, all with a gorgeous view of the ocean. The trials are all pretty mild, perfect for a family outing!

Distance: varies

Cowles Mountain

The vertical hike up Cowles Mountain is worth it because it’s the highest point in the county, allowing you to see panoramic views of San Diego. The majority of this trail is uphill, so be prepared!

Distance: 3 miles round trip

Potato Chip Rock

We’ve all seen the epic pictures of people standing on the edge of a thin rock. However, be prepared for a challenging trek uphill to capture your picture standing atop “Potato Chip Rock.” We recommend that you start early in the morning, as it can get hot in Poway in the summer months.

Distance: 8 miles round trip

Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail

This is a great trail for a family adventure, with flat trails, shade, plenty of vegetation, and even a waterfall! It’s recommended to begin your hike in the early morning to avoid the crowds and bikers.

Distance: 7 miles round trip


Bike Paths

Great weather and miles of flat terrain, is all you need to enjoy a bike ride! San Diego offers many paths that are specifically for bikers and runners. Check out our top four favorite paths that will make your bike ride breeze by!


Silver Strand Bikeway

Relish in the sea breeze as you pedal along this scenic route, great for all skill-levels.

Distance: 18.7 miles round-trip

San Diego River

This bike path provides an enjoyable experience, perfect for all skill-levels.  

Distance: 20 miles

Mission Bay Sail Bay

Enjoy a bike ride along Mission Bay, perfect for a family day. There are many shops that offer rentals to avoid the hassle of bringing your own bike.

Distance: 3 miles one way or a 19-mile loop

Point Loma Cabrillo Monument

This bike route is a bit more strenuous than other paths. Be prepared to cycle Point Loma’s hilly terrain!  

Distance:  16 miles


Dog Parks and Beaches

A great way to stay active and get fresh air is heading to a local dog park. Luckily, San Diego has a long list of dog parks to keep your family and paw-kids healthy!

  • Fiesta Island
  • Nate’s Point
  • Capehart Park
  • Grape Street Dog Park


San Diego is known for its gorgeous beaches and famous attractions. However, there are also other features that make San Diego truly one of the best cities. With limitless outdoor activities to keep you and your family healthy, no wonder San Diego was named one of the fittest cities in America! For more activities in San Diego, check out Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles.


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