Staying Fit In One Of The Least Fit Cities In The Country

Dated: 05/19/2015

Views: 1333

by TJ Anderson

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In new rankings recently released by the American College of Sports Medicine, Nashville was named one of the least fit cities in America — among the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, we landed at 45. Not so great for the bragging rights, this one.

The rankings were based on a mix of things you’d expect, like obesity rates, and others you might not have, like access to parks (which we actually do pretty well on in terms of acreage).

For some of us, getting and staying fit seems easy, whatever city is home. But for a lot of us it takes determination and pointed planning to get around bad (or just not great) habits. Since spring’s a great time to rethink routines (and in light of this study), I gave some thought to ways we can make better choices and get healthier here in No. 45.

Staying fit in Nashville

Eat better food

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What we eat is obviously key to our fitness, but I think many of us make the mistake of just landing on “eat less” when we’re thinking about making fixes to our food routines. Eating better, and eating more healthful foods feels like a stronger goal, here or anywhere — the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition suggests making half the plate fruits and vegetables during meals.

I think the best way to work toward that goal is to do some shopping every week at one of the many great Farmers Markets we have here in Middle Tennessee, from East Nashville to 12 South. I rounded up great Nashville-area Farmers Markets in the fall, and most (if not all) are in season now. (As I’m posting this, it’s a perfect time for particularly awesome strawberries.)

Make exercise fun

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Obviously exercise is the other key to getting and staying fit, and if you love the gym, or running or yoga, you’re in good shape, figuratively and probably literally. A lot of us just can’t seem to get passionate about more traditional exercise options, and passion seems to be the key to sticking to a good habit.

For me, it helps to make staying-active choices fun, and two things contribute to that: teaming up with friends, and doing an activity that goes along with the word “play.”

I listed off some Nashville-area options for active lifestyles last fall too, and a lot of those options fit the bill — particularly one of my favorite choices, which is playing kickball with Nashville Sports Leagues. They have lots of other sports, and there are other leagues in Nashville too (like East Nashville Sports, which does kickball in, you guessed it, East Nashville). 

Bike and walk your regular routine where you can

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While it’s true that Nashville isn’t the most walkable city (aside of certain pockets), it can be pretty bikeable, and that’s true even if you don’t own a bike.

Nashville B-cycle gives us access to rentable bikes all around town, with stations from Belmont to Germantown (29 in total). You can choose from a bunch of rental options, from a 24-hour pass ($5) to various memberships that give you an unlimited number of 60-minute trips.  

Even just switching your lunch break to a ride instead of a drive could make a noticeable difference, right?

Make use of that park land we have

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I’m glad we got points for our parks, because truly, from Antioch to Woodmont and all the letters in between, there’s a park close by that you can walk in, hike in or play in. Some have golf courses, which I’m a personal fan of; some have fitness centers, tennis courts and youth sports programs, pools and lots of other ways to get active. (We have more than 12,000 acres of open space here, including 108 Parks and 19 Greenways — not bad for No. 45.) has a quick rundown of all of our parks. A cool thing if you want to fine-tune what you’re looking for: The Park Finder, which lets you hunt for the best park for you by location or activity.

How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on ways to stick to better fitness habits in Nashville, so we land a little higher on the list next time. Drop some suggestions on our Facebook page.

If you’re a fitness-minded house hunter and need some guidance toward neighborhoods that fit that lifestyle, I’d be glad to help — reach out and tell me about what you’re looking for!

Top photo: Richard Masoner
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TJ Anderson

TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....

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