It is generally recommended for adults to aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week. For children and adolescents, it is recommended to aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity on at least 3 days each week. Less sedentary behavior — sitting for work, screen or other TV time — as well as engaging in regular physical movement doing household chores, carrying children, or walking at work all contribute to better health measures. The main takeaway is to get moving as much as you can.

There are numerous physical activity benefits including:

Fitness Goals

Physical activity feels good and offers numerous benefits, especially if it is something you enjoy doing and incorporates reasonable physical limitations and healthy self-care boundaries.

Factors to consider are:

You may need to begin at a lower fitness intensity during treatment, with a goal of staying as active as possible. People who are older or were inactive before may need to start with short, low-intensity activity like gentle walking. Careful monitoring of safety and balance by a health professional helps to reduce injury risks for seniors as well as those with bone cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, or peripheral neuropathy (numbness in hands or feet). Many people can safely begin or maintain their physical activity, but some may have better results with the help of a fitness specialist, physical therapist, or physiologist. Speak regularly with your health care provider about any concerns and share your health status with anyone guiding your fitness. A plan customized to your unique needs will be easier to follow and set you up for success!

Most people are able to slowly increase exercise time and intensity. Fitness intensity is in the eye of the beholder. What may feel like low or moderate intensity activity (eg. a brisk walk) for a healthy person could feel like a high intensity activity for someone building back health.

Physical activity is important to overall well-being, quality of life, ang longevity. A healthy weight, nutrition, and physical activity may help reduce the risk of serious chronic diseases.

Types of activity

Activity can be thought of as falling into 2 groups, intentional and usual. Intentional refers to activity for which you set an extra goal to complete. Examples are gym workouts, bike riding, dance, swimming, or a brisk walk. Usual activities are those done as part of your daily routine, often at lower intensity, such as climbing the stairs, gardening, playing with kids, or cleaning the house. Activity tracking via mobile apps or wearable devices can help to motivate and stay accountable to your fitness goals.