An image of an arrow icon

The Most Active States in America

Physical activity significantly improves our health and wellness, but which states are the most active? Check out our findings and see where your state ranks!
4 minutes read
Written by:

Americans aren't exactly known for their health, but some take physical activity to another level. Physical activity unlocks several health benefits, and anyone can benefit from some form of it. Exercise and physical activity can help us get in shape and reach our health goals, but they can also improve mental health and cognitive functions. The benefits apply to people of all ages, and everyone can find an activity that suits their interests and abilities. 

At Top Nutrition Coaching, we believe in making healthy living an easier reality, and this isn't possible without activity and exercise. Physical activity is essential to everyone's health and wellness, and we wanted to see which states are the most active. We've compiled the national statistics for adults who walk or bike to work, engage in physical activity and leisure time, and meet muscle strength guidelines to rank the most active states. Check out where your state ranks and other relevant findings related to physical activity! 

Interesting Findings

  • Montana and Vermont are the most active states in America, and both fall within the top seven of every activity category. 
  • Mississippi ranks as the least active state and is near the bottom of most activity categories. 
  • Some states known for hiking, snowsports, and the outdoors–like Montana, Colorado, and Alaska typically rank higher than coastal or beach states like Hawaii, California, and Florida. 
  • Several of America's least active states, such as Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee, are located in the South. 
  • Most US states with a major city–like New York, Illinois, and California–usually have a high rank in the adults who walk or bike to work category, but none except for the District of Columbia rank within the overall top ten. 

Why Physical Activity Matters

Physical activity promotes healthy living and is one of the most crucial elements to getting in shape and improving our well-being. Many people work from home or sit at a desk, and physical activity may not always be a priority. However, simple activities such as daily walks, exercise, or even yard work can benefit our health and wellness. Some studies suggest that moderate to vigorous forms of physical activity can improve brain health in people of all ages. Physical activity can improve children's cognitive abilities, and adults can feel less anxious or depressed. Regular exercise and physical engagement unlock several physical and mental health benefits, leading to more organized and sound lives. 

Physical activity also has a significant impact on weight management and physical health. Physical activity is necessary to achieve our desired outcome regardless of the health goal, such as losing or gaining weight. Additionally, physical activity is proven to reduce multiple health risks, such as heart disease and types of cancer. Moderate forms of physical activity can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, help prevent numerous diseases, and improve heart health

Our bodies need engagement, and physical activity allows us to feel better and improve our health in several ways. Anyone can find a physical activity that works for them, and regular engagement can lead to multiple benefits in a relatively short time. Even going for a walk gets us outside and stretches our legs, which can clear our minds during stressful days. Physical activity doesn't have to be a chore, and with some trial and error, everyone can find something that improves their health and mental wellness. 


We analyzed various sets of data from the CDC concerning physical activity among adults in the United States. We looked at the percentage of adults that walk or bike to work, participate in consistent physical activity, engage in muscle-strengthening activities, and don't engage in physical activity during their free time. For states that didn't have available data in any given data set, we took the overall average of the states that had available data.


  • CDC - Percent of adults in the state who usually biked or walked to work in the last week
  • CDC - Percent of adults who achieve at least 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (or an equivalent combination)
  • States with no data available: New Jersey
  • CDC - Percent of adults who achieve at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and engage in muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week
  • States with no data available: New Jersey
  • CDC - Percent of adults who engage in no leisure-time physical activity
  • States with no data available: New Jersey

Find your personal nutrition coach today.

Start your 2 week RISK-FREE TRIAL now!

About the author

Nicolette Star Maggiolo, RD, LDN
I'm a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with education from Boston University and clinical training from both Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I specialize in helping the military and non-military individuals embrace nutrition as a partner in both their mental and physical health.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Don’t worry, no spam or rubbish.
Thank you for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while subscribing.

Top Nutrition Coaching’s Annual Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship

Scholarship Award: $500
The Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship is a recurring scholarship that’s open to all students of military families, both past and present. The next deadline to apply is April 1, and winners will be announced on April 30.
Learn More

About the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship

Scholarship award available for both college and high school students
Military families embody resilience, strength, and unwavering support for their loved ones in uniform. There are many overlooked sacrifices they make that should be recognized and rewarded. Military families endure extended deployments, adjust to new environments, and face uncertainty on a frequent basis. The children of military families often adapt to new schools and environments, embodying the values of adaptability and perseverance, and experience the emotional toll of their loved one being deployed in dangerous situations.

The Heroes' Legacy Scholarship is a tribute to the extraordinary dedication and sacrifice of military families who stand alongside their loved ones in service to our country. We appreciate the challenges that military families endure while a parent or guardian serves in the armed forces, and we want to lend our support to these remarkable individuals in their pursuit of higher education.

We recognize that pursuing higher education can be an additional burden on military families already facing unique challenges, and this scholarship is our way of giving back to these dedicated families and honoring their sacrifices.
Scholarship details:
To qualify for this scholarship, please review the following eligibility criteria carefully. Ensure you meet these requirements prior to submitting your application.
Amount: $500
Application deadline: April 1
Winner Announcement Date: April 30
Recurring: Annually
Scholarships Awarded
Total Awards
Eligibility requirements:
To qualify for this scholarship, please carefully review the following eligibility criteria. Ensure you meet these requirements prior to submitting your application.
Student of a military family (at least one parent has served in the U.S. military at some point)
All high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students
Applicant must be a current U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident
How to Apply:
You can apply for this scholarship on the scholarship platform. Follow the directions and submit your application for the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship, along with a short essay answering the following prompt:
Tell us about your experience as the child of a parent in the military
Scholarship frequently asked questions:
When is the scholarship deadline?
The application will be open through April 1.
What is the scholarship prize?
The scholarship award is $500.
When will the winner be chosen and notified?
Prior to the announcement date, we may contact finalists with additional questions about their application. Recipients will be chosen based on the merit of their application. 
How will the scholarship be paid?
The prize check will be sent to the scholarship winner’s college institution in their name and in the name of their institution (depending on the school’s requirements).
Is this a recurring scholarship?
Yes, the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship is an annual scholarship.
How will my scholarship application be verified?
Before we award the scholarship, the winner will be required to verify their academic enrollment status by providing a copy of their most recent transcript.
How can I get in touch with questions?
If you have any questions about this scholarship, just email and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.
How will my application information be used?
Top Nutrition Coaching manages this scholarship with the support of the scholarship platform. takes student confidentiality and privacy incredibly seriously. Please refer to the application page on for full details.

Previous Top Nutrition Coaching Scholarship Winners

Mayci H.
October 12, 2022
Jordan C.
December 20, 2022
Bethanie S.
December 27, 2022
Romeo G.
February 8, 2023
Ian C.
December 28, 2022
Kristopher W.
December 14, 2022
About Top Nutrition Coaching
Top Nutrition Coaching is dedicated to offering a sustainable pathway toward healing and achieving a balanced life. Our team of experienced nutritionists takes a comprehensive approach to create tailored plans for each individual, considering various aspects, including mindset, sleep, diet, activity level, and lifestyle. We are committed to helping our clients thrive in the truest sense of the word, fostering lasting well-being and growth.
Apply Now
Hire The Right Nutritionist For You