New study says Bham is the 9th worst city for active lifestyles. Here’s why we disagree.

Black People Run, Bike, and Swim standing together for a group photo
Black People Run, Bike, and Swim is changing the way Birmingham views exercise. Photo via Jerri Haslem

ABC News 33/40 published an article on a WalletHub study saying that Birmingham ranks as the ninth worst city to live in for an active lifestyle. Yikes. However, no one knows working out in Birmingham better than us. So what makes Birmingham a good city for active lifestyles? Read on to find out.


One of the best parts about Birmingham is all the ways that you can explore the city while also improving your health. The Magic City hosts various virtual runs, has an active biking community and a long list of resources from wellness shops to personal trainers. If you are trying to figure out what to do next for your health, explore the trails, wellness communities or classes offered here in Birmingham.

Get moving on one of our trails

Ebenezer swamp

Plenty of cute creatures live in this swamp and it is a wonderful addition to the Alabama Birding Trail. You can pick up a new hobby while also working out.

  • Coordinates: 33.1747955, -86.801351
  • Trail distance: 0.6mi
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Call
  • Cost: Free

Turkey Creek

Aside from their 500+ acres, Turkey Creek is home to the rarest fish in the world—the Vermilion darter. Supporting nature preserves like Turkey Creek helps improve your active lifestyle and ensures the survival of important habitats.

  • Location: 3906 Turkey Creek Rd, Pinson, Alabama 35126
  • Trail distance: 3.2mi
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Call
  • Cost: Donations welcomed

Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge

Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge has the largest known stand of Cahaba lilies. Wildflowers grow throughout the area making it a picture perfect for Instagram after your run.

  • Location: Co Rd 24, West Blocton, AL 35184
  • Trail distance: 2mi
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Call
  • Cost: Free

Ruffner Mountain

Ruffner Mountain is one of two nature preserves in Alabama that is larger than NYC’s iconic Central Park. You’ll definitely be in shape by the time you explore the whole area.

Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain Park is the other nature preserve larger than NYC’s Central Park. This park also plays an important part in the creation of Birmingham. You can get a workout in and learn more about our city too.

  • Location: 2011 Frankfurt Dr, Birmingham, AL 35211
  • Trail distance: 15mi of hiking trail | 2mi of flat walking trail
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call
  • Cost: Donations welcome

Oak Mountain State Park

Mountain biking at Oak Mountain State Park. Photo via Billy Pope courtesy of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Oak Mountain is the largest state park in Alabama with over 10,000 acres to explore for you daily workout. The 65-foot tall Peavine Falls is located in Oak Mountain and is a nice reward after an intensive workout.

Red Rock Trail System

Birmingham, Alabama, Red Rock Trail System, Freshwater Land Trust, Rotary Trail, High Ore Line Trail
Big news ahead for High Ore Line Trail. Photo via Freshwater Land Trust’s Instagram

Red Rock Trail System plans to connect 750 miles of trails in the Birmingham area. Right now there are 125 miles that you can walk on. Check out their Red Rock Tuesdays for more tips on how to stay active.

Rotary Trail

Birmingham, Alabama, Newcomers' guide to Birmingham, Rotary Trail, Magic City Sign, workouts
Rotary Trail, downtown Birmingham. Photo via Ryan Nelson on Instagram

Rotary Club of Birmingham gifted the Rotary Trail to Birmingham for the club’s 100th anniversary. Creation of the Rotary Trail also provided a new filtration system that improved the quality of run-off water that was polluting the Village Creek.

  • Location: 2098 1st Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Trail distance: 0.4mi
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Call
  • Cost: Free

Vulcan Trail

Vulcan statue and Birmingham skyline
Gorgeous views of Vulcan Park. Photo via Vulcan Park and Museum’s Facebook

Vulcan Trail is also a gift from the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, commemorating 100 years of service. This trail is one of the recommended trails for beginners on the Red Rock Trail System.

  • Location: 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209
  • Trail distance: 2mi
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call
  • Cost: 10AM-6PM $6 | 6-10PM $5

Get active with a group

Headshot of Jerri Haslem of Black People Run, Bike, and Swim
Co-founder and visionary of Black People Run, Bike, and Swim. Photo via Jerri Haslem

Meet Black People Run, Bike, and Swim

Black People Run, Bike, and Swim (BPRBS) is a local nonprofit that’s addressed Black Birmingham citizens’ health issues since 2012. Their organization offers activities, support and motivation for people to have more active lifestyles. I spoke with Jerri Haslem, co-founder and visionary of BPRBS, about being active in Birmingham.

Is Birmingham a bad city for active lifestyles?

Jerri doesn’t disagree with WalletHub’s study, but she does believe that it is a larger systemic issue. Alabama lacks healthy role models, so Jerri and BPRBS are changing the narrative.

“We inform, educate, and empower communities, especially in certain areas when it comes to accessibility. There is privilege in everything, including health.”

Jerri Haslem
Black People Run Bike and Swim biking together, workouts
Good day for a bike ride. Photo via Jerri Haslem

BPRBS organizes the only United States of America Track and Field (USATF) certified 5K in a Black neighborhood in the state of Alabama—the 5K at the Junction in Ensley.

“People are like, “Why are going to Ensley? No one runs there,” and that’s the problem: no one runs there.”

Jerri Haslem

The pandemic stopped BPRBS’s weekly runs, but Jerri encourages people who want to get involved to follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Keep up with them on social media and find out the next class you can join or when you can volunteer with them to improve Birmingham’s health.

Take a class for a new experience

Jasper Elliott Wolfe’s yoga classes

Flyer for Jasper Elliott Wolfe's yoga workouts
A new class for almost every day of the week. Photo via Jasper Elliott Wolfe for Birmingham Now

Jasper Elliott Wolfe, the owner and founder of Conscious Body Healing Arts Center is offering free virtual yoga classes. Each class targets different needs, and if you still need a little more, check out the healing arts center for massages and other classes.

  • When: Mondays 9:30AM | Tuesdays 6PM | Wednesdays 10AM | Fridays 10AM
  • Where: Zoom—email her at consciousbodyyoga@gmail.com for the link
  • Cost: Free and donations encouraged

If you need more yoga in your life, check out our other article dedicated to just yoga.

Battle Republic

Birmingham, Alabama, Aviate, Battle Republic, Railroad Park, workouts
That’s the face of a satisfying workout. Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

Battle Republic offers Battle on Demand (their catalogue of workouts you can stream at home) and Zoom classes for all types of active lifestyles. No equipment necessary for these workouts. Sign up for a class before January 31st and get three classes for $26 as a part of their New Year Rookie Rate.

Thrive Pilates

Thrive Pilates workouts from home.
At home workout. Photo via Thrive Pilates’ Facebook

Thrive Pilates has live streams of their yoga, cardio and mat flow classes. Virtual membership also grants access to their video library full of different workouts. Get a full workout without having to leave your home.

Birmingham Boulders

Rock climbing workout at Birmingham Boulders
Best support system. Photo via Birmingham Boulder’s Facebook

Birmingham Boulders has classes for first time climbers and is a popular choice for active lifestyles, including among women. Once you’ve learned the ropes, there are scenic areas nearby where you can climb outdoors.

  • Location: 136 Industrial Dr, Birmingham, AL 35211
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 11AM-9PM | Sunday 12-8PM
  • Cost: $40 for non-members
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call

What keeps you motivated to stay active? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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  • Curiosity gets the best of me over everything else. Passionate about writing, editing and adventuring.