Health Benefits of Physical Activity

Being physically active is one of the most important steps that people of all ages can take to improve their health.

Children and Adolescent

Strength of the scientific evidenceHealth Benefits
  • Improved cardiorespiratory endurance and muscular fitness
  • Favourable body composition
  • Improved bone health
  • Improved cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers
  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression

Adults and Older Adults

Strength of the scientific evidenceHealth Benefits
  • Lower risk of early death
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Lower risk of stroke
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure
  • Lower risk of adverse blood lipid profile
  • Lower risk of metabolic syndrome
  • Lower risk of colon cancer
  • Lower risk of breast cancer (females)
  • Prevention of weight gain or promotion of weight loss (when combined with diet)
  • Improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness
  • Prevention of falls
  • Reduce depression
  • Better cognitive function (older adults)
Moderate to Strong
  • Better functional health (older adults)
  • Reduced abdominal obesity
  • Weight maintenance after weight loss
  • Lower risk of hip fracture
  • Increased bone density
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Lower risk of lung cancer
  • Lower risk of endometrial cancers (females)


Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, 2008. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services.