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What Is Physical Activity?


Physical activity is any body movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than resting. Some physical activity is better than none but increasing the intensity, frequency and/or duration of workouts leads to greater health benefits and greater quality of life. 

Two main types of physical activity are referred to as aerobic and muscle-strengthening. Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) activities provide health benefits and you need to get both types each week.


The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans serves as the primary, authoritative voice of the federal government for evidence-based guidance on physical activity, fitness, and health. You can view Chapter 2: Physical Activity and Health for more information on the definition of physical activity, as well as information about aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening activities.