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Fittest Cities In America: Washington, D.C.

See what makes Washington, D.C. one of the best cities for fitness and health in the country, and discover the fun activities it has to offer.

Man Running Outside The Supreme Court
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The nation’s capital may fall partisan on many issues, but residents are united on the fitness front. With its diverse weather and scenic outdoor spaces, not to mention a plethora of forward-thinking gyms and studios, this ever-mobile city and its surrounding suburbs keep locals active and moving throughout the year.

“The metro area has all the perks of a large city, but it can still feel like a small town,” says IFBB pro, trainer, and D.C. local Michelle Johnson. “There’s plenty of variety for your fitness repertoire, from biking and hiking to camping and boating, in some beautiful nearby outdoor spaces.” Plus, where else can you work up a sweat while passing by national landmarks and the U.S. Capitol or find a pickup soccer or flag football game along the National Mall?

Gyms range from superclubs like Sport & Health, Balance Gym, and Vida Fitness, to niche studios featuring yoga, barre, spin, and HIIT training, such as ExtendYoga, Pure Barre, SoulCycle, Orangetheory, and Barry’s Bootcamp.

Vegans and vegetarians have plenty of choices, while juice bars like Puree Artisan Juice Bar draw plenty of crowds. The Protein Bar will fulfill all your protein-packed desires with dishes offering up to 40g of protein. Plus you’ll find loads of farmers markets, including those outside in Dupont Circle and the indoor Eastern Market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. 

5 fun fit things to do in: Washington, D.C.

  1. Go for a three-mile run on the Mall past the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial , WWII Memorial, and Smithsonian.
  2. Bike along the Washington and Baltimore Rail Trails, which range in distance from six to 184 miles.
  3. Rent a kayak and paddle the Tidal Basin or down the Potomac.
  4. Get in a stair workout on Georgetown’s steep Exorcist steps, showcased in the famed 1973 horror film.
  5. Bounce off the walls in parkour training center Primal Fitness.

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