The Active Life

Wall Street Journal. OWN Magazine. March 17, 2011

Gunston. Mason Neck, VA

While Washington D.C. remains a town of words, the growing focus on physical activity is stunning. From Potomac, Maryland to Potomac, Virginia – and all points in between – the region's developing a six-pack.

There was once a time when some would say the words “active life” in the Washington area meant adjusting the Barcalounger for a tussle with the Sunday crossword puzzle. In ink.

But those days have long since passed.

"There's a premium on homes near parks and trails,” says Hans Wydler, an associate broker with Long & Foster's Bethesda, Maryland office. “Shiny new gyms are springing up in town and out: Equinox and Crunch and LA Fitness among them."

Ever since former President Clinton’s much publicized morning jogs, it feels as if the D.C. Metro Area has spurred into action. President Obama’s rigorous workout routines and the First Lady’s war on fat seem fitting in a city that has the largest bike sharing program in the U.S., with over 100 stations across Washington and Arlington.

"Without a doubt, we've become 100 percent more health conscious, more active," says Creig Northrup of Long & Foster. No matter the income bracket, people are into "walking and hiking and jogging and biking. And they want to live in communities with jogging paths and bike trails."