NEW YORK - Although it's known for its beautiful horse farms and as the "Thoroughbred Capital of the World," Lexington, Ky., has gained a new distinction — as the most sedentary city in the United States.
Along with Indianapolis, Ind., and Jackson, Miss., it ranked among the most exercise-phobic cities in the nation, according to a new ranking by Men's Health magazine.
Seattle, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., were the most physically active.
"What hurt Lexington most was the actual amount of activity, or exercise, people reported engaging in — any physical activity at all, which was relatively low. And they did have higher rates of deaths from deep vein thrombosis as well," said Matt Marion, deputy editor of Men's Health.
To compile the rankings of the 100 most sedentary cities featured in the latest issue that will hit the newsstands on Tuesday, the magazine looked at how often residents exercise, the number of households that watched 15 hours of cable television a week and bought more than 11 video games a year, and the rate of DVT, a blood clot in a vein, usually in the leg, which is associated with inactivity.
"When we crunched the numbers Lexington finished at the bottom," Marion explained.
Southern cities dominated the least active metropolises. Tulsa and Oklahoma City also scored a low grade, as did Birmingham, Ala.,; Laredo, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Little Rock, Ark. and Charleston, W. Va.
Marion suspects the southern lifestyle and balmy weather could be contributing factors.
"In certain cities there is a more laid-back lifestyle. That's fine, but there is not that same drive you'll see in certain parts of the northeast or California, or the northwest where people get up every morning and run or hit the gym," he explained.
Residents of power-hub Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, Reno, Portland, Atlanta, Denver and Minneapolis were also visiting the gym or pounding the pavement as each city scored top grades for being active.
"With the most active cities a common theme that runs through is there is a bit more body consciousness, a more youthful and body conscious sensibility in these cities. And I think that equates to people making it a priority, no matter how busy, to get a run in or go for a walk," said Marion.