Adult Physical Activity

Adult Physical Activity

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has the potential to reduce both cancer- and non-cancer-related morbidity. In particular, physical activity may reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including bladder, breast, colon, endometrium (lining of the uterus), esophagus (adenocarcinoma), kidney, and stomach. Being active may help to prevent weight gain and obesity, which can reduce the risk of developing cancers that have been linked to excess body weight. Physical activity may also lower a person’s risk of health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis (bone thinning).

Physical activity also improves the quality of life among cancer patients and survivors. For people with colorectal cancer, women with breast cancer, and men with prostate cancer, greater amounts of physical activity are associated with reduced risk of mortality from the original type of cancer. For people with colorectal cancer and women with breast cancer, greater amounts of physical activity are also associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality. 

Several national groups offer recommendations for engaging in regular physical activity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Percentage of adults aged 18 years and older who reported no leisure-time physical activity during the past month and percentage of adults who meet both the aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey 1992–2022.

Refer to the Data Sources page for more information about data collection years 2019+.

  • Reduce the percentage of adults who engage in no leisure-time physical activity to 21.2 percent.
  • Increase the proportion of adults who meet the objectives for aerobic physical activity and for muscle-strengthening activity to 28.4 percent.

Healthy People 2030 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Note: Goals are indicated as blue line on Detailed Trend Graphs.

Weight, Sleep, and Physical Activity