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Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention

Regular physical activity can reduce your risk for certain cancers.

In the section menu to the right:

  • The Science - Find out the facts and BC statistics about physical activity and cancer risk.
  • Reduce Your Risk - Information on what you can do to be more active and sit less.
  • Physical Activity Resources - More websites and guidelines about physical activity, and some maps to help you get started.
Moving more

Moving your body more includes carrying out everyday activities – such as doing housework, grocery shopping or walking to work. It's also important to schedule exercise into your weekly activities. 

Different types of physical activity are important:

  • Aerobic physical activities (also known as cardio) increase your heart rate and make you breathe harder. Examples include walking, dancing or playing basketball. In general, during moderate-intensity activity you will be able to talk, but not sing. During vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
  • Strengthening activities work your muscles and bones using resistance or weight (including your own body weight). Examples include lifting weights, doing push-ups or using resistance bands. Many activities, such as running, are both aerobic and strengthening.

Regular physical activity is good for your lifelong health. Benefits include:

  • reducing your risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • strengthening your mental wellness by improving mood, reducing stress, and helping you sleep better
  • helping you achieve and maintain a healthy  weight
  • improving flexibility, strength and balance, which can help prevent falls
Sitting less

When you sit or lie down for a long period of time, this is called sedentary behaviour.

Sedentary behaviour is different than not getting enough exercise. If you spend most of your day sitting, you are still at risk for health problems even if you are physically active for 30 – 60 minutes each day.

Common sedentary behaviours include:

  • sitting for long periods of time at school or work;
  • using a computer or phone;
  • driving or commuting;
  • reading;
  • watching television.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has developed guidelines for ways children and youth can reduce their sitting time. 

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SOURCE: Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention ( )
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