In a recent study, SmartAsset ranked Ann Arbor the fourth most exercise-friendly city in the United States.

The criteria consisted of the percentage of residents who walk or bike, the concentration of fitness studios and professionals, the concentration of fast food restaurants and the average hourly wage of personal trainers.

With 105 fitness-related businesses per 10,000 establishments, community members The Daily spoke to agree that Ann Arbor is fitness-friendly. University of Michigan students walk or bike on campus to get to and from their classes, and campus workout centers offer has fitness classes.

Businesses that offer workout classes range from yoga to cycling to dance classes. LSA junior Tori Guevara is a yoga teacher training at aUM Yoga. She said she has also spent a lot of time at other workout studios such as Tiny Buddha, MVMNT Fit and SoulCycle. 

“It’s a big way to keep all parts of health in check and I’ve been lucky enough to find sources for that,” Guevara said. “It’s not only a distraction from stress, but it also helps to alleviate stress. There’s also a welcoming community in my fitness classes that makes coming something I genuinely look forward to and I get a workout out of it.”

In addition to these studios, students also choose to work out at home. Business sophomore Katherine Yang said she stays active by going to the gym and doing Pilates at home. She also takes lessons at Polarity in Ann Arbor to learn pole dancing.

“I think it’s important to stay active because we’re just sitting all the time in class,” Yang said. “It’s probably not good for our muscles or posture. I always stretch. Ann Arbor is a town full of younger people who are looking to get active. There’s sidewalks, trails and many new, trendy exercise establishments.”

Students also have the option to attend yoga, cycling and body strength classes held at University recreation centers. Buying a Group-X pass allows students to have unlimited access to every fitness class on campus.

LSA sophomore Scotti Peterson is an active member of Changing Health, Attitudes + Actions to Recreate Girls (CHAARG), a women’s health and wellness organization. 

Peterson wrote in a message to The Daily that CHAARG allows her to try a different workout every week.

“I’ve gotten to try almost every studio in Ann Arbor,” Peterson said. “I go to the IM Building by myself sometimes, but I really like that Ann Arbor has such a big workout studio scene. It makes it really easy to find the workout I love the most, which typically is barre or yoga.”

University students are not the only people taking advantage of the fitness-friendly nature of Ann Arbor. SoulCycle opened its doors about two weeks ago, and has quickly become an advocate for staying active in the Ann Arbor community. 

SoulCycle instructor Jamie Falco wrote in an email to The Daily that after two weeks here, she can see that  Ann Arbor is committed to health and wellness. She said exercise is important because it keeps her emotionally and physically healthy, and said it is SoulCycle’s goal to make exercise a big part of their riders’ lives.

“We stress the importance of correct form, safety, and riding with resistance, but we do it in a way that never feels technical or competitive,” Falco wrote. “Yes, we are getting an incredibly effective cardio workout, but it never feels like a chore …  I don’t believe exercising has to exclusively be in a gym or a studio. There are so many ways to move your body.”

The article has been updated so the last quote is attributed to SoulCycle instructor Jamie Falco. Previously, the quote was wrongly attributed to Kimberly Gibbs, director of PR and communications at SoulCycle. 

Reporter Brayden Hirsch can be reached at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *