Physical Activity Helps Prevent Chronic Diseases

Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health, fitness, and quality of life. It also helps reduce your risk of chronic conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression and anxiety, and dementia.

woman lifting weights, man walking dog, man and woman doing yoga

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, exercising, working outside
  • Works best when you work all your body’s major muscle groups
  • Includes legs, hips, back, chest, abs, shoulders, arms

Heavy gardening or carrying heavy loads, including groceries

Everyone can benefit from physical activity—no matter your age, sex, race or ethnicity, health condition, shape or size.

How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?

adults exercising

At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. Adults 65 and older also need balance-improving activities.

Adults, try walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Older adults, practice standing on one foot or walking heel-to-toe.

children exercising

(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.

Fitting regular physical activity into your schedule may seem hard at first, but you can reach your goals through different types and amounts of physical activity each week.

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.

Learn more about physical activity at