Physical Activity in Rural America Chapter uri icon


  • In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to provide a roadmap for participation in physical activity. It had already been well-established that physical activity (i.e., bodily movement of various frequency, duration, and intensity) could contribute to significant health improvements, as well as reduce adverse health outcomes and a variety of chronic diseases. Aerobic exercises, which are activities of longer duration such as walking, cycling, and running, can improve the cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) of individuals, thereby contributing to their improved stamina, maintenance of a healthy weight, and more efficient metabolism. Resistance exercise, such as lifting weights, can improve muscle tonus, strength, and bone health. The potential health benefits and improved quality of life that can be achieved from adaption of the human body to physical activity occur across all age groups and every racial and ethnic group. However, as a whole, more than 80 percent of Americans do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and resistance exercise, and more than 80 percent of adolescents do not meet the guidelines for aerobic activity. Furthermore, a 2008 study estimated that physical inactivity costs the U.S. healthcare industry $102 billion annually.

author list (cited authors)

  • Helduser, J., Ferdinand, A., & Bolin, J. L.

complete list of authors

  • Helduser, J||Ferdinand, A||Bolin, JL

editor list (cited editors)

  • Bolin, J. N., Bellamy, G., Ferdinand, A. O., Kash, B. A., & Helduser, J. W.

Book Title

  • Rural Healthy People 2020 Volume 1

publication date

  • January 2015