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"Yoga on the Rocks," an annual Denver ritual for thousands in Red Rocks Park
Blaine Harrington III/Corbis

You don’t even need a car to make the commute. Denver’s bike-share program, one of the country’s oldest, expanded from 53 to 87 stations two years ago. With more than 110 miles of bike lanes, as well as extensive trails along the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, Denver is crisscrossed by about 10,000 pedaling commuters ­every day, according to Bike­Denver, an advo­cacy group.

All that riding (not to mention the hiking and skiing) has helped make Denver one of the healthiest cities in America. A recent study by Gallup ranked Denver first among large U.S. cities for the number of residents who exercise regularly—more than 57%. It also tied with San Diego for the lowest obesity rate, at 19.3%. Health care is a big source of jobs as well. Employment in Denver’s health care industry grew 4.9% last year, compared with 1.6% nationally. One key factor: the new University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, eight miles from downtown. Along with its two hospitals, the center is expected to employ 25,000 over the next decade.