Regular physical activity decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and modifies multiple cardiovascular risk factors. The optimum amount of exercise continues to generate debate; however, the general recommendation is that all adults should engage in 30 min of moderate-intensity physical activity on five, and preferably all, days of the week. Despite extensive data and recommendations, a significant proportion of the US adult population remains sedentary. Promoting physical activity at a public level remains a major challenge because of the presence of multiple behavioral, physical, and environmental barriers. Health care providers have an opportunity and a responsibility to include exercise counseling in routine office visits. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010.