Kudos To Minnesota!

Exercise and Physical activity makes you fitter, healthier, and yes, apparently even happier!

Minnesota is in the top for happiest, healthiest & fittest states in America!

The latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index—which measures the happiness of each state’s residents—finds that the country has shown little improvement in well being over the last five years.

Minnesota is #3 For The Happiest State In America

For the survey, Gallup researchers interviewed more than 350,000 U.S. residents throughout 2012 and asked them to rank aspects of their lives on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best.

The happiest states were:

1. Hawaii
2. Colorado
3. Minnesota
4. Utah
5. Vermont

Overall, Western and Midwest states took seven out of the top ten spots, and Massachusetts and Vermont cracked the top ten for the first time. Which is cool, because happiness is directly linked with good health! Psychologists studying the science of happiness believe that practicing certain positive behaviors like laughter can bring the pleasure, engagement and meaning that comprise happiness [source: Jameson].  Being happy has always seemed like a good idea. Now researchers have shown that even anticipating a laugh helps reduce stress.

What Makes a Happy State?

The Well-Being Index is calculated based on six key areas:

  • Life Evaluation: Alaskans ranked their lives as “thriving,” giving them the highest ranking in this category with a score of 60.2, while West Virginia residents ranked lowest on this scale at 41.1.
  • Emotional Health: Hawaiians were the most likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot “yesterday” and were the least likely to report daily worry, stress, or depression, scoring at 83.3. Kentucky ranked lowest in emotional health with a score of 75.5.
  • Work Environment: North Dakota workers said they have the most positive work environments, including job satisfaction and trust, and can best use their strengths while performing their job. This gave them the highest ranking in this category at 54.3. Delaware ranked lowest in job satisfaction at 40.6 and had the worst workplace perception for a third year in a row.
  • Physical Health: Minnesota ranks at the top of this category — which includes the percentage of obese residents, disease, and other health problems and daily ailments — with a score of 79.9. West Virginia ranks lowest at 69.9, in part because it has the highest obesity rate.
  • Healthy Behaviors: Hawaii ranks at the top of this category also, with a 68.9. The Hawaiians’ good eating and exercise habits, along with their lower smoking rates, gave them the top spot. Oklahoma ranks lowest with a score of 59.1.
  • Basic Access: Massachusetts residents rank highest in this category for a second year in a row, with an 86.6. This high rating is a result of the high percentage of residents who have health insurance along with access to basic necessities and satisfaction with one’s community. Mississippi ranks lowest in this category, as it did in 2010, with a 77.6.

America’s Fittest Cities 2013 Minneapolis Minnesota

The residents of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in Minnesota have done it again. According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual rankings, the metro area has won the title of “Fittest City in America” for the third year in a row, Health Day News reported.

The report, called the American Fitness Index (AFI), compiled data from 50 cities across America, taking into account the city’s policies, community resources, health care access and prevalence of chronic diseases.

Topping the list with 78.2 points was Minneapolis, followed by Washington D.C. with 77.7 points., and Portland Ore., with 69.8 points. The least fit cities at the bottom of the list included Memphis, Tenn., Louisville Ky., San Antonio, Texas and Detroit, Mich.  Oklahoma City was in dead-last, with a meager 31.2 points.

Shout out to Minneapolis Minnesota!

Minneapolis also took the top spot for most bikable city with 81 miles of on-street bikeways and 85 miles of off-street bikeways. In addition to its abundant waterways and bike trails Minneapolis has over 20 miles of groomed ski trails many of them with spectacular views of downtown.  The American Fitness Index named the Twin Cities as the most-healthy places to live in America. Its citizens are active and enjoy some of the highest air quality ratings nationwide.

This one’s a wonder to me, because you’d assume anyone stuck up in that frigid ice tundra would be going to town on Swedish meatballs and hiding in sweaters.  But the fact is that during our oh so short summer, there are a lot of gorgeous nature preserves and parks here where you can get your fitness on.  It’s absolutely true!

With the super cold weather and long winters every Minnesotan has exclusive rights to be a huge couch potato, but the environment throughout the state is fitness no matter what the weather.

Part of the reason is the amount of money and care the state devotes to parks and access to trails etc. giving people a place and desire to exercise all year long. Rollerblading was invented by a person in Minnesota so he could “skate” in the summer. That right there should tell you something.

As summer continues and once again I vow to get in shape, maybe I will finally take advantage of all the beauty Minnesota has to offer!