SANTA CRUZ-WATSONVILLE, CA — A recent study had some good news for residents of the Santa Cruz-Watsonville area, especially for those who made a New Year's resolution to get into shape. The metro area ranked in the top 10 places in the United States to get physically fit in 2021, according to SmartAsset.
Santa Cruz-Watsonville came in at No. 6 in a study by SmartAsset that analyzed 301 metro areas to find the most fitness-friendly places nationwide. It was one of four California metro areas in the Top 25 and seven in the Top 50 on the 2021 list from SmartAsset, a financial technology company that provides personal finance advice on the web.
To compile the rankings, SmartAsset examined data from five metrics:
The percentage of residents who walk or bike to work as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
The concentration of fitness professionals — dietitians, nutritionists, recreational therapists, athletic trainers, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors — per 10,000 workers using May 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics.
The concentration of fitness establishments — sporting goods stores and fitness and recreational sports centers — using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey.
The percentage of restaurants that serve only fast food, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2018 Metro Area Business Patterns Survey.
The average hourly wage of personal trainers according to May 2019 data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics. (Given the limited availability of direct data about the cost to consumers for personal training services, this metric acted as a proxy to indicate the relative affordability of hiring a personal trainer in a given metro area, according to SmartAsset.)
The Santa Cruz-Watsonville Metro area scored 94.22 out of a possible 100 points. According to the study:
7.5 percent of the area's commuters walk or bike;
there are 39 fitness professionals per 10,000 workers;
the area has 104 fitness establishments;
33 percent of the area's restaurants serve only fast food; and
$20.59 is the average hourly wage for the area's personal trainers.