Atlanta is becoming a healthier city thanks to its numerous recreational facilities, which include tennis courts. // Photo: Shutterstock/Oleandra

Healthy Atlanta — How to Become Part of the Trend

Atlanta is becoming healthier, according to a recent study by the American College of Sports Medicine.

The organization’s American Fitness Index (AFI) ranks the Atlanta metro area 16th on its list of healthiest U.S. cities, up from 21st last year. The yearly study examines a variety of factors, including a city’s green space and activities facilities, and residents’ eating and exercise habits.

Atlanta earned high marks for its number of parks, swimming pools and tennis courts — all of which exceeded the national average, according to the study. In addition, the mortality rate from diabetes was below the national average, according to the study.

Area residents are likely familiar with the city’s many outdoor spaces. But if you just moved to Atlanta, or haven’t taken advantage of the recreational facilities, here’s a quick overview.

Dozens of Recreational Areas

In addition to major city parks such as Piedmont Park or Grant Park, Atlanta is home to dozens of other recreation areas — many of which feature pools and tennis courts.

Several also offer outdoor activities like swimming and exercise classes to the public. Check out Piedmont Park’s Love You Healthy Fitness series, for example, where yoga, swimming and other activities are available.

The Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation offers a full list of seasonal programming and lessons — including basketball, swimming and more.

The City of Atlanta’s Aquatics Division offers numerous indoor and outdoor pools throughout the area. Many of these offer free swim times, while others charge $1 for kids and $4 for adults. There are even dedicated senior programs at several area indoor pools. Atlanta also has numerous public tennis courts for free use, many of which also offer free tennis classes.

Room for Improvement

So, where does Atlanta fall short? Among other things, the AFI gives the city below-average marks for its walkability and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

To do your part to counter these statistics, try taking advantage of one of the area’s many farmers markets to stock up on fresh produce at reasonable prices.

You can also check out one of the city’s many walkable neighborhoods. Midtown and Buckhead Village, for example, fare particularly well on Walk Score, which measures such factors as availability of sidewalks and ease of access to stores, restaurants and other amenities.

And the AFI has taken note: Although it still ranks Atlanta’s overall walkability below the national average, the city’s score has risen in recent years. That’s more reason to get out and enjoy Atlanta’s healthier side.

Recommended by the Editors: