Objectives: The effects of non-occupational physical activity were assessed on the number of years lived with and without disability between age 50 and 80 years. Methods: Using the GLOBE study and the Longitudinal Study of Aging, multi-state life tables were constructed yielding the number of years with and without disability between age 50 and 80 years. To obtain life tables by level of physical activity (low, moderate, high), hazard ratios were derived for different physical activity levels per transition (non-disabled to disabled, non-disabled to death, disabled to non-disabled, disabled to death) adjusted for age, sex and confounders. Results: Moderate, compared to low non-occupational physical activity reduced incidence of disability (HR 0.66, 95% CI 0.51 to 0.86), increased recovery (HR 1.95, 95% CI 1.32 to 2.87), and represents a gain of disability-free years and a loss of years with disability (male 3.1 and 1.2; female 4.0 and 2.8 years). Performing high levels of nonoccupational physical activity further reduced incidence, and showed a higher gain in disability-free years (male 4.1; female 4.7), but a similar reduction in years with disability. Conclusion: Among 50-80-year-olds promoting physical activity is a fundamental factor to achieve healthy ageing.