Health Library

Risks of Physical Inactivity

What health risks are linked to physical inactivity?

Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and other conditions:

  • Less active and less fit people have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

  • Physical activity can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.

  • Studies show that physically active people are less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who are inactive. This is even after researchers accounted for smoking, alcohol use, and diet.

  • Lack of physical activity can add to feelings of anxiety and depression. 

  • Physical inactivity may increase the risk of certain cancers. 

  • Physically active overweight or obese people significantly reduced their risk for disease with regular physical activity.

  • Older adults who are physically active can reduce their risk for falls and improve their ability to do daily activities.

Facts about inactive lifestyles

Thousands and thousands of deaths occur each year due to a lack of regular physical activity. In addition:

  • Inactivity tends to increase with age.

  • Women are more likely to lead inactive lifestyles than men.

  • Non-Hispanic white adults are more likely to engage in physical activity than Hispanic and black adults.