May 29, 2013

Minneapolis, Minnesota     Photo: beavela via Flickr

Twin Cities is the Fittest, Healthiest City

Oklahoma City the least fit

For the third year running, the Twin Cities—Minneapolis-St.Paul—were rated as the healthiest, fittest cities in the U.S. by the American College of Sports Medicine. At the bottom of the list, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Detroit, Michigan, checked in as least fit and the second least fit cities, respectively.

The annual index is based on smoking, exercise, obesity rates, chronic health problems, and access to health care. It also takes into account the availability of parks, recreation facilities, walking trails, and farmers' markets.

"What Minneapolis has done brilliantly is put their resources where residents can use them effectively to maintain a high level of physical activity," Walt Thompson, chairman of the advisory board who created the index told USA TODAY.

Minneapolis spends double the amount of money on parks per capita ($227) as many other cities and has a greater number of baseball diamonds, playgrounds, golf courses, and dog parks, he added. 

The top five towns:
1. Minneapolis-St. Paul
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Portland, Ore.
4. San Francisco
5. Denver

The bottom five towns:
46. Memphis
47. Louisville
48. San Antonio
49. Detroit
50. Oklahoma City


    Photo: Courtesy of Discovery

Discovery Unveils Nude Survival Show

'Naked & Afraid' to feature nude couples surviving

It appears that the paleo craze is reaching critical mass. Next month, the Discovery Channel will roll out its new reality survival show, Naked and Afraid.

Like many show of its ilk, NaA follows a pair of complete strangers, a man and a woman, as they attempt to survive in the wilderness for 21 days with nothing but their smarts and one personal item each.

The twist? They’re completely naked and smeared with mud. (Discovery was reportedly also considering the titles, I’ve Made a Huge Mistake and Stroppy Jiggling in the Wilderness.)

The show will follow a new couple each week as they attempt to navigate the extreme discomfort of being naked with a complete stranger on national television.

Naked and Afraid already gained some degree of notoriety earlier this month after the show’s producer, Steve Rankin, was bitten by a Fer-de-lance while filming the show and nearly lost his foot. Bear Grylls, whose Man vs. Wild series is also produced by Rankin, later triggered a nation-wide gag reflex when he Tweeted a gruesome photo of the foot (WARNING: Extremely gross).

The show premieres Sunday, June 23, at 10:20 p.m. ET/PT, after Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda.


    Photo: sagriffin305/Flickr

Baseball, Squash, Wrestling Make Olympic Shortlist

Climbing does not

Baseball/softball, squash, and wrestling have made the shortlist for inclusion at the 2020 Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Wednesday. In September, the sports will go before the full IOC board for a final vote on inclusion for the 2020 Games.

The three sports were chosen from a list of eight that also included karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, and wushu. Each sport's international federation was given 30 minutes to present its case for inclusion before the Olympic Executive Board, and each sport was then judged on 39 criteria, including youth appeal, universality, popularity, good governance, respect for athletes, and respect for Olympic values.

Earlier this year, the IOC announced that wrestling would be dropped from the Games, marking the end of an event that had been a part of the Olympic tradition since 1896. At the time, it appeared unlikely that the sport would gain readmission.


    Photo: Luca Galuzzi

WATCH: Record Everest BASE Jump

Valery Rozov leaps off North Face

Good luck to anyone who wants to top this. Russian extreme sports star Valery Rozov, 48, recently completed the highest-ever BASE jump from the North Face of Mount Everest.

The over four-mile leap was meant to mark the 60th anniversary of Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay’s first ascent of Everest. Rozov spent more than two years preparing and developing a special new wingsuit for the jump. 

After three weeks acclimatizing at Base Camp and a four-day hike to the jump point, Rozov stepped onto the ledge and—well, the footage speaks for itself.



Vail Resorts to Take Over Canyons

Company's first resort in Utah

Vail Resorts will take over operations of the Canyons Resort in Park City, marking the ski corporation's first expansion into Utah.

Under the terms of the long-term lease announced on Wednesday morning, Vail will take over management of Canyons from Utah-based Talisker Corporation for $25 million a year, adjusted for inflation, plus 42 percent of Vail's earnings over $35 million. It will be the 10th resort the company owns.

Vail Epic Pass holders will have access to the mountain.

The lease runs for 50 years, with six 50-year renewal options. While Vail will take control of the resort, Talisker will retain development rights for some four million square feet of real estate at the base of the mountain.