Regular physical activity helps improve overall health and reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and premature death.
To prevent cardiovascular disease, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends intensive behavioral counseling to promote physical activity for people with known cardiovascular risk factors. Physical activity can also help people with cardiovascular disease manage their conditions; exercise training has been shown to have a positive effect on people with certain types of heart failure, and cardiac rehabilitation, which includes physical activity training, helps improve the health of people who have had a heart attack or bypass surgery.
Despite the substantial health benefits of physical activity, about 3 out of every 10 U.S. adults report being inactive during their leisure time, and only half of U.S. adults report levels of aerobic physical activity consistent with national guidelines. There are evidence-based strategies to promote physical activity that can be put into action where people live, learn, work, and play, including behavioral counseling for adults with cardiovascular risk factors and designing safe community spaces that encourage activity.