2. Be physically active every day

"Driving your kids to soccer and hockey is good but showing them first-hand how to sustain an active lifestyle is better." Read more about how activity can benefit old and young in this Toronto Star article.

A closer look at the recommendations for reducing your overall cancer risk

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity daily
  • As your fitness improves, increase to 60 minutes of moderate, or 30 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity, every day
  • Limit inactive habits, such as watching television or mindless online browsing

What is physical activity?

Any bodily movement is physical activity. All activities count-walking to your car, raking leaves, vacuuming, lifting groceries, hiking, biking, yoga and playing sports.

What is moderate physical activity?

Moderate physical activities raise your heart rate, make you sweat a little, and make you breathe harder. You are exercising at a moderate level if you can talk, but not sing, while doing the activity. Brisk walking, bike riding, dancing, water aerobics, raking leaves and housework are moderate physical activities.

What is vigorous physical activity?

Vigorous physical activities raise your heart rate even higher, make you sweat, and make you feel "out of breath". During vigorous activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. Fast walking, jogging or running, playing tennis, swimming laps, heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing), hiking uphill and cross-country skiing are vigorous physical activities.

Why is physical activity important?

Daily physically activity promotes bone, heart and mental health and will help you achieve and maintain your healthy body weight.

How much physical activity do you need?

Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity a day. You can do this in several 10 minute intervals of moderate or vigorous activity. As your fitness improves, increase to 60 minutes or more of moderate activity or 30 minutes or more of vigorous activity every day.

Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines say that you need at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic/endurance physical activity per week to feel the health benefits of physical activity. Add muscle and bone strengthening activities that use major muscle groups at least twice per week.

How can you be more active every day?

  • Walk more (e.g. to the subway, grocery store or work), or walk part of the way and take transit the rest
  • Carry a basket instead of pushing a cart when you shop
  • Choose the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator
  • Find a friend or family member to walk, ride, dance or play with you
  • Make it a habit-start or end each day with a walk around the block

For more information on physical activity and breast cancer risk, see the Your Nutrition Connection brochure Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Risk available from the Odette Cancer Centre or at