Physical Activity

The information on this page is a guide to physical activity for adults. You can also find information on this website relating to: 

Move more...

For adults aged 18 to 64 years of age, Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in periods of 10 minutes or more.

Move often...

Sitting or standing for long periods of time can have negative effects on your health, even if you are meeting Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. To avoid that, after 60 minutes of sitting or standing, move for at least one to three minutes.

It is important to be physically active to decrease your risk for many chronic diseases.

Types of activity/work intensity levels

There are three types of intensity levels when talking about physical activity: light, moderate, and vigorous.


This type of activity does not help you meet physical activity recommendations but does help to reduce the time you are sitting. Examples include standing up, stretching and walking for a few minutes. These are still important but the other levels are what you need to truly benefit from being active.
 Moderate activity is when you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate. You can talk while you're doing it, but not sing a favourite song. Examples include brisk walking, vacuuming and gardening.
This type of activity is intense. Your heart rate is higher and you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. Examples include running, weight lifting, swimming and dancing.

Benefits of being active

Regular exercise will improve your:

  • Energy level
  • Concentration, memory and alertness
  • Work-life balance
  • Fitness level
  • Feelings about yourself and self-confidence

It will also reduce your:

  • Stress level
  • Risk of injury at work
  • Time off due to illness
  • Risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some types of cancer

Tips for success

  • Set a goal and create a plan to reach that goal
  • Start off slowly and build up to your goal; small steps lead to successful goals
  • Be a good role model; children will learn from your example
  • Be active with family and friends
  • Keep a pair of comfortable shoes at work
  • Build movement into your daily routine
  • Keep track of steps, time or distance
  • Stick to it! You need to try a new activity for about four to six weeks before the activity becomes a natural part of your routine and you start to see some benefits
  • Have fun! Choose a variety of activities you like to do

Where to go to get active

Parks, recreation programs, facilities and services to help you keep active in Waterloo Region:

Physical activity can be done at home, at work, in your spare time or while you're getting around in your daily life. More physical activity provides greater health benefits.

Additional information

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