In honor of National Physical Therapy Month and as part of the “Fit After 50” campaign, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and MoveForwardPT.com partnered with Huff/Post50 to determine the “Top 10 Fittest Baby Boomer Cities in America.” They collected data on the 50 largest metro areas of the US and identified the top 10 cities best suited for people aged 50 and older who want to live in environments that promote healthy, active lifestyles.
Congratulations to Washington, DC! The city has been named #7 on the list of Fittest Baby Boomer Cities in the America.
Washington, DC achieved a health and fitness score near the 75th percentile and a lifestyle score in the 78th percentile, proving itself one of the best cities for healthy, active older adults. Here are some important facts the research uncovered about the District:
- The percentage of Boomers with health insurance is 93.9.
- The number of diagnosed cases of cardiac disease (3.16%) is lower than the 3.87% average for all 50 cities researched.
- Diagnosed cases of high cholesterol (48.6%) are 3.1% below the average for the 50 cities reviewed.
- Of the top 10 cities, Washington, DC has the highest per capita spending for parks, the most community garden plots per 10,000 people, and the most swimming pools per 100,000 people.
APTA member Patrice Winter, PT, DPT, MHA, FAAOMPT, an assistant faculty member in George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services Department of Rehabilitation Science, wasn’t surprised her city made the top 10 list.
"There's no question that when it comes to Boomer health, DC is one of the leading cities in the US," said Winter. "Boomers are transforming how we traditionally think of aging by staying mobile, and physical therapists are helping them do that."
Winter recommends Washingtonian Boomers continue to focus on fitness and exercise and talk to a physical therapist if they have any questions or concerns. Here are some tips:
- Regular physical activity can improve bone density, posture, heart and lung function, muscle strength, joint function, sleep, and memory, among many other things. In addition, getting toned often gives you a more youthful appearance.
- Sticking with a physical activity plan lowers your risk for certain health conditions, such as fractures, falls, depression, certain cancers, stroke, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.
- Physical therapists support national guidelines, which recommend that you make aerobic, strengthening, flexibility, and balance activities regular components of your physical activity program. MoveForwardPT.com has more tips on staying active, fit, and healthy; to learn which exercises are right for you and your lifestyle; and to find a physical therapist near you.
- In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, you can make an appointment to be evaluated by a physical therapist directly, without a physician referral.