How fit is your country? The answer may surprise you.
In an effort to find the “fitness capital of the world,” Reebok analyzed amateur and professional runners in different countries using specific metrics, including the number of track and trail events per one million people, the number of marathons per one million people, average marathon time, the number of gyms per 10 square kilometers (about four square miles) in each country’s most populated city, and the number of Olympic medals gained in athletic and endurance events by each country.
Perhaps it is not surprising, but Switzerland ended up ranking the highest as the “ultimate fitness capital” of the world, according to the study. With an overall score of 7.44 out of 10 points, this scenic and health-conscious country also has the second lowest marathon time (3:49:13), the highest number of gyms in Zurich (16 per 10 square kilometers), and lots of beautiful places to run.
Switzerland is followed by Portugal, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands, respectively, in terms of overall score. Spain, which ranked 12th in overall score, also had the fastest marathon runners with an average time of 3:49:09. Norway, which ranked sixth, leads the world for professional runners, with 28 Olympic medals in athletics and endurance events overall.
The U.S. ranked seventh in overall score, while France, which ranked third, leads the world in number of track and trail events with a whopping 141 total.
“Keeping fit is something to be enjoyed by everyone across the globe, with it having significant benefits on both our bodies and minds. Running is one of the easiest forms of exercise, as it only requires a pair of trainers and the outdoors. Many of these countries offer stunning scenery, perfect to be enjoyed on a jog outside,” a spokesperson for Reebok said in a statement.
Running certainly has a myriad of benefits with maintaining overall health, and it is arguably one of the best ways to see a new country or city.
Certain countries can see this information as a jumping off point to level up their fitness game. Perhaps by next year, Switzerland will be dethroned as the fitness capital of the world.
“It’s great to see the top destinations for fitness and running spread out across the world from Australia to the USA. With the UK ranking 11th it would be fantastic to see this position increase over the coming years and to reach the top 10 fitness capitals in the world,” the spokesperson for Reebok added in the statement.