Photos: America's ten fittest cities -- and where Denver finishes

It's our first best-cities list of 2014! And the roster assembled by -- "America's 10 Best Cities for Fitness 2014" -- seems custom-made for Denver.

Did the Mile High City kick ass in a way that showed off its taut musculature? Damn right it did, even besting the community whose football team kicked the collective asses of the Denver Broncos in Sunday's Super Bowl. Look below to count down the top ten finishers, featuring photos and text.

Number 10: Austin, Texas
Austin rounds out our best cities for fitness list. This Texas town is home to Hippie Hollow Park on Lake Travis, a clothing-optional public park where residents can swim, kayak and hike, adding fuel to the unofficial city slogan "Keep Austin Weird." Austin also has more than 50 public pools as well as plenty of opportunities for rock climbing, swimming and exploring along the greenbelt. This active lifestyle could be why Austinites rank low for stress.
Number 9: Los Angeles
Los Angeles is the fourth California city to make it on our best cities for fitness list. Residents here put a premium on staying in shape. They love the latest workout crazes, including SoulCycle, Pure Barre, HIIT, INSANITY and more. Plus L.A.'s 75 miles of coastline offer plenty of opportunities for beach running, surfing, kayaking and one of the latest trends, stand-up paddleboard yoga.
Continue to keep counting down America's ten fittest cities. Number 8: Salt Lake City
It's no surprise The Crossroads of the West is the eighth-best city for fitness. Salt Lake City offers year-round outdoor adventure, from snowshoeing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and skiing, to hiking and biking around Bonneville Shoreline Trail. All that fresh air is probably why Salt Lake City also has the lowest smoking rate in the country.
Number 7: Portland, Oregon
With highs around the 80s and lows in the upper 30s, Portland's temperate climate makes it easy to stay active. Residents can hike Forest Park's 70 miles of trails, bike or jog the Springwater Corridor or even skateboard around one of the city's many designated skate routes. Portland also has one of the most active bicycle racing scenes in the U.S. All that outdoor recreation could also be why Portland is one of the best cities for nutrition.
Continue to keep counting down America's ten fittest cities. Number 6: Seattle
Seattle's nearly year-round drizzly weather doesn't stop residents from staying active. Seattleites ski and snowboard in the nearby Cascade and Olympic Mountains, kayak and sail in Puget Sound, rock climb at Discovery Park and walk around Green Lake. There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, camping and swimming. No wonder residents here rank highest in America for getting vitamin D!
Number 5 Sacramento
Nicknamed the River City, because it's where the Sacramento River and the American River meet, Sacramento attracts a ton of white water rafters and kayakers. For land-lovers, California's state capital features over 5,000 acres of parks, giving residents plenty of opportunities for outdoor sports, hiking, walking and biking.
Continue to keep counting down America's ten fittest cities. Number 4: Boston
Boston, which has more pedestrian commuters than most comparably populated cities, is known as The Walking City. The capital of Massachusetts also has some of the highest rates of bicycle commuting, in part because of the Boston Hubway, a bike-sharing program throughout Metro Boston. When Bostonians aren't rooting for their favorite sports teams, they're likely walking the Freedom Trail or jogging around the Charles River.
Number 3: San Diego
San Diego's ideal climate, 70 miles of coastline and diverse terrain encourages year-round fitness opportunities. It's the perfect place for outdoor recreation, from surfing and paddle boarding to hiking and biking. All that exercise may help San Diegans fend off diabetes.
Continue to keep counting down America's ten fittest cities. Number 2: San Francisco
The City by the Bay is a mecca for exercise. San Francisco offers kayaking and windsurfing for water lovers, plenty of places for running or skating throughout Golden Gate Park and more than 200 miles of bike paths and lanes for those who prefer exercise to driving or riding the trolley. San Francisco is also home to the Bay to Breakers footrace, the San Francisco Marathon, the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon and the Olympic Club, the oldest athletic club in the U.S.
Number 1: Denver
The Mile High City is miles above the rest when it comes to exercise. Between the incredible hiking in the nearby Rocky Mountains, skiing in Winter Park and the more than 850 miles of paved off-road trails around the city for biking, it's no surprise that Denver tops our best cities for fitness list. Denver also has a citywide bike-sharing program, which is even more of an incentive for residents to be active. All that time exploring the great outdoors could be why Denver has some of the best blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the country.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Lists & Weirdness archive circa December 2013: "Photos: Movoto's ten best American cities for 2013 -- and where Denver lands."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts