Lack of Physical Activity
CDC works to reduce the four main risk factors for preventable chronic diseases: tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol use.
- Only 1 in 4 US adults and 1 in 5 high school students meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.
- About 31 million adults aged 50 or older are inactive, meaning that they get no physical activity beyond that of daily living.
- Low levels of physical activity can contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some kinds of cancer, and obesity.
- Low levels of physical activity are associated with an estimated $117 billion annually in health care costs.
- CDC works to increase physical activity by promoting better community design and more active school and work environments.
Only 1 in 4 US adults and 1 in 5 high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity. Not getting enough physical activity comes with high health and financial costs. It can contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, several cancers, and obesity. In addition, low levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in health care costs every year.
People of all ages and conditions can benefit from more physical activity, including aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises, according to the new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americansexternal icon. Physical activity contributes to normal growth and development, reduces the risk of several chronic diseases, and helps people function better throughout the day and sleep better at night. Even short bouts of physical activity can improve health and wellness.
Many Americans live in communities that are not designed for physical activity. CDC works to increase the nation’s physical activity levels by promoting better community design and more active school and work environments. CDC also supports programs that include physical activity as a way to prevent type 2 diabetes and reduce arthritis pain.
The Harmful Effects of Not Getting Enough Physical Activity
Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease—even for people who have no other risk factors. It can also increase the likelihood of developing other heart disease risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
Not getting enough physical activity can raise a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps control blood sugar (glucose), weight, and blood pressure and helps raise “good” cholesterol and lower “bad” cholesterol. Adequate physical activity can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and nerve damage, which are often problems for people with diabetes.
Getting the recommended amount of physical activity can lower the risk of many cancers, including cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, uterus, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach. These effects apply regardless of weight status.
The Health Benefits of Physical Activity
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition presents new findings on the benefits of regular physical activity, which include:
- Improved sleep.
- Increased ability to perform everyday activities.
- Improved cognitive ability and a reduced risk of dementia.
- Improved bone and musculoskeletal health.