BOSTON — Although Colorado offers unlimited opportunities for exercising outdoors, the Centennial State leads the country in health club memberships, and Denver tops the list of the cities with the most memberships, according to a report from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). A projected 21.8 percent of Colorado residents over the age of six belong to a fitness center or health club. About 25.1 percent of Denver residents belong to a club.

The national survey, which has been conducted for the past 19 years, also showed that one-third of U.S. health club members live in the South. The South has the highest obesity rates in the nation, but it has experienced the highest level of growth in health club memberships, increasing from 10.7 million members in 1999 to 13.8 million members in 2005.

“We are encouraged that more and more Americans are recognizing health clubs as centers of support where they can find the help of dedicated and caring professionals as well as the dependable social support of fellow members that will help them live more active, healthier lives,” says Joe Moore, president and CEO of IHRSA.

Top States for U.S. Health Club Memberships
Rank State Participants per 100 people
1 Colorado 21.8
2 Utah 20.8
3 Massachusetts 20.6
4 Arizona 20.0
5 Delaware 19.0
6 California 18.7
7 Virginia 18.5
8 Washington 18.1
8 Oregon 18.1
10 Maryland 17.9