Want to surround yourself with fit bodies, sound minds, and a whole lot of farmer’s markets? You might want to head to these wellness-centric spots.

By Marisa Spyker
February 22, 2019
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that being near the sea is good for the soul. Studies show that simply looking at the ocean (and even the color blue in general) puts us in a mild meditative state. Hearing the crash of the waves has similar effects on our nervous systems.

But according to studies of overall well-being, living seaside not only has the power to affect our minds, but our physical fitness as well. So, it makes perfect sense that, in a new ranking of the healthiest American cities in 2019, three of the top five on the list are coastal.

According to personal finance website WalletHub, which recently compared 170 of the country’s biggest cities across 42 indicators of physical well-being, the overall healthiest city in the U.S. is San Francisco. California’s City by the Bay held a hefty first-place lead in the ranking, which took into account metrics from four dimensions, including health care, food, fitness, and green space. San Francisco took top honors in two metrics—food and green space—thanks to its abundance of hiking and running trails, healthy restaurants, and adults who report not skimping on their daily dose of veggies.

Seattle was ranked the second healthiest city in America
Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler/Getty

Coming in just behind San Francisco, Seattle skyrocketed to the winner’s circle with the highest percentage of adults who report being physically active. Despite the Emerald City’s rainy reputation, residents here find ways to get out and move—and with plenty of running trails and fitness centers per capita, the city makes it easy.

Rounding out the top three, San Diego scored high in two categories: fitness and food. The latter category takes into account not only things like obesity rates and self-reported eating habits, but the availability of healthy foods in grocery stores and farmer’s markets citywide.

And the overall top three aren’t the only coastal locations that got cred for their health smarts. Jacksonville, Florida, ranked second in its affordability of medical services, while over on the west coast, the Orange County area—including cities like Huntington Beach, Irvine and Santa Ana—had some of the lowest rates of premature deaths in the country

So there you have it: Living by the beach means less stress, better health, more relaxation, and longer lives. Coincidence? We think not. Here's the full ranking of the top 10 healthiest cities in America:

1. San Francisco
2. Seattle
3. San Diego
4. Portland, Oregon
5. Washington, D.C.
6. New York City
7. Denver
8. Honolulu
9. Scottsdale, AZ
10. Irvine, CA

Related: The Real Reason Why Swimming Is Good for You: 

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