This European Respiratory Society (ERS) statement provides a comprehensive overview on physical activity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A multidisciplinary Task Force of experts representing the ERS Scientific Group 01.02 "Rehabilitation and Chronic Care" determined the overall scope of this statement through consensus. Focused literature reviews were conducted in key topic areas and the final content of this Statement was agreed upon by all members. The current knowledge regarding physical activity in COPD is presented, including the definition of physical activity, the consequences of physical inactivity on lung function decline and COPD incidence, physical activity assessment, prevalence of physical inactivity in COPD, clinical correlates of physical activity, effects of physical inactivity on hospitalisations and mortality, and treatment strategies to improve physical activity in patients with COPD. This Task Force identified multiple major areas of research that need to be addressed further in the coming years. These include, but are not limited to, the disease-modifying potential of increased physical activity, and to further understand how improvements in exercise capacity, dyspnoea and self-efficacy following interventions may translate into increased physical activity. The Task Force recommends that this ERS statement should be reviewed periodically (e.g. every 5-8 years).