Physical Activity Prevents Chronic Disease

Physical Activity
Prevents Chronic Disease

Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health, fitness, and quality of life. It also helps reduce your risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression and anxiety, and dementia.
woman stretching at desk, man walking dog, woman stretching on chair

What Is Physical Activity?

people walking, jumping rope, playing tennis

Moderate or vigorous
intensity, every
minute counts

Gets you breathing
harder and your
heart beating faster

brisk walking, biking,
dancing, yard work

people lifting weights, doing crunches and yoga stances

Works best when you
work all your body’s
major muscle groups

Includes legs, hips,
back, chest, abs,
shoulders, arms

free weights, crunches,
elastic bands, squats

Tips for Adults

Try walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

people walking, biking, running


minutes each week

At least 150 minutes
of moderate-intensity
aerobic activity every
week, plus muscle-
strengthening activities
at least 2 days a week


(6-17 years)
60 minutes (1 hour)
or more of physical
activity each day


(3-5 years)
should be
physically active
throughout the day
with plenty of opportunities
for active play.

children walking, biking, playing ball

Tips to Get and Stay Active

icon of stethoscope

Talk to your doctor
if you have a chronic
condition like type
2 diabetes or
heart disease.

icon of handshake

Get the support
of your friends and
family—and invite them
to get active with you!

icon of stopwatch

Start slowly and add
time, frequency, or
intensity every week.

icon of person running

Schedule physical
activity for times in the
day or week when
you’re most energetic.

icon of calendar

Plan ahead.
Make physical
activity part of
your daily or
weekly schedule.

icon of running shoe

Walk instead of
drive to nearby
destinations or park
the car farther away
and fit in a walk
to your destination.

icon of person riding bicycle

Support improvements
in your neighborhood
that make it easier to
walk or bike to where
you want to go.

Page last reviewed: May 14, 2020