Alabama is one of the least active states in the country—5 ways to get moving in Huntsville

Monte Sano sunset
Get the best views in town on Monte Sano. (Monte Sano State Park on Facebook)

Alabama is one of the least active states in the country, according to a recent CDC report.

Luckily, local opportunities to move your body are nearly endless, whether you have a hankering to explore the great outdoors or your preference is climate-controlled calisthenics—or somewhere in between.

Read on for more information about the CDC report and for five ways to get active in Huntsville.

The CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Self-reported physical activity data
More than 30% of Alabamians reported not participating in any physical activity in the previous 30 days. (cdc.gov)

The CDC regularly conducts telephone surveys as part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Why? To better understand attitudes and habits around health in the U.S.

The recent CDC data is based on the response to the following question:

During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?

CDC BRFSS

In eight survey areas, more than 30% of respondents answered “no.” Those areas were:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Puerto Rico
  • West Virginia

The CDC used data from BRFSS surveys from 2017-2020.

Get active in Huntsville

Thankfully, the Huntsville/Madison County area has no shortage of opportunities to get active. Here are five.

1. Gyms

RedX Fitness in Madison
I spend a lot of my evenings in this building. (Emily Phillips / Hville Blast)

Whether you prefer a Crossfit-style box gym or a traditional family fitness center, you’re sure to find a spot to work out in Huntsville. We’ve already rounded up several options in Huntsville and Madison.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama is also teaming up with the National Fitness Campaign to bring free, outdoor gyms to Huntsville.

In fact, the city of Huntsville and Arts Huntsville are working together now to install four Fitness Courts with art installations over the next two years. The installations will be at the following locations:

  • Apollo Park
  • John Hunt Park
  • Legacy Park at Johnson Legacy Center
  • California Street Park

2. Trails

Golden hour in Madison
What better way to enjoy golden hour than taking an early evening stroll? (Emily Phillips / Hville Blast)

Madison County’s natural beauty is no secret. From the City of Madison’s trails and greenways to the breathtaking views atop Monte Sano, you’re sure to find an option that is appropriate for your level of experience and training.

3. Group exercise

OrangeTheory Madison
OrangeTheory is a great option if you’re looking for a high-intensity group exercise experience. (Emily Phillips / Hville Blast)

If you like to be social while you work out, consider group exercise classes. Some local options include:

  • Burn Boot Camp: 45-minute workout classes where you can build muscle and community
  • Fit4Mom: Group fitness classes designed for women in all stages of motherhood
  • High Point Climbing and Fitness: a rock-climbing gym with group yoga and exercise classes
  • Huntsville Hospital Wellness Centers: Aqua cardio, balance classes, Zumba and more
  • Light On Yoga Fitness: Just one of many Huntsville yoga studios offering group classes, including aerial yoga
  • OrangeTheory: High-intensity, circuit-based training using heart rate monitors to track performance
  • Pure Barre: Low-impact exercise classes inspired by the practices of yoga, pilates and ballet

4. Adult sport leagues

Nothing quite compares to the experience of competing in sports. Luckily, several adult sports leagues are available for the most competitive among us:

5. Urban exploration

Downtown Huntsville mural
We spotted this mural while walking around Downtown Huntsville recently. What a find! (Emily Phillips / Hville Blast)

The City of Huntsville has a lovely, walkable downtown with lots of shops, restaurants and public art to pique your interest. Why not spend some time exploring? You might just find your next favorite spot, whether it’s the path around Big Spring Park or the Clinton Row Colorwalk.


What’s your favorite way to exercise in Huntsville? Let us know—use #hvilleblast and make sure to follow us @hvilleblast to keep up with what’s happening in your city.

Emily Phillips
Emily Phillips
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