Current physical activity (PA) guidelines indicate that moderate-intensity (MPA) and vigorous intensity (VPA) PA provide similar benefits when total volume is equal. The present study examined the associations of MPA and VPA with body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness in free-living young adults. A total of 197 young adults (52.8 % male) were followed over a period of 15 months. Body composition was assessed via dual X-ray absorptiometry and time spent in various PA intensities was determined with a multi-sensor device every 3 months. Cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed with a graded exercise test at baseline and 15-months follow-up. Change in VPA was positively associated with cardiorespiratory fitness while MPA had beneficial associations with percent body fat. In overweight/obese participants the association with VO2peak was similar for MVPA bouts and VPA. Even though MPA and VPA have positive associations with overall health, their associations on key health parameters differ.