Why Should People be Active?

Regular physical activity benefits our health and activity friendly places benefit our communities. However, too few Americans get the recommended amount of physical activity. Only about 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 6 high school students fully meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

Physical activity benefits health immediately and over time.

For Adults

  • Lower risk of:
    • Early death.
    • Coronary heart disease.
    • Stroke.
    • High blood pressure.
    • High cholesterol or triglycerides.
    • Type 2 diabetes.
    • Metabolic syndrome.
    • Colon cancer.
    • Breast cancer.
  • Prevention of weight gain.
  • Weight loss, particularly when combined with reduced calorie intake.
  • Improved cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness and muscular strength.
  • Prevention of falls.
  • Reduced depression.

For Children

  • Academic Performance
    – Improves attention and memory
  • Brain Health
    – Reduces risk of depression
  • Muscular Fitness
    – Builds strong muscles and endurance
  • Heart and Lung Health
    – Improves blood pressure and aerobic fitness
  • Cardiometabolic Health
    – Helps maintain normal blood sugar levels
  • Long-term Health
    – Reduces risk of several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and obesity
  • Bone Strength
    – Strengthens bones
  • Healthy Weight
    – Helps regulate body weight and reduce body fat
Physical activity saves lives and dollars.
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  • Inactivity contributes to 1 in 10 premature deaths.
  • About 110,000 deaths could be prevented if US adults increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by even 10 minutes per day.
  • Inadequate levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in annual healthcare costs.

Physical inactivity affects our national security and military readiness.

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  • Both obesity and low levels of physical fitness increase the risk for injury among active military personnel.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 young adults are too heavy to serve in our military.
Communities benefit from an activity friendly design.
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  • Well-designed communities give people more options to get to the places they need to go by walking, biking, wheelchair rolling, or using public transit.
  • Activity friendly communities can improve safety for people who walk, ride bicycles, and drive.
  • Activity friendly communities can also help improve the local economy, increase employment opportunities, support neighborhood revitalization, and reduce health care costs.
Connect with Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity