Be Active

We know that by being physically active every day, enjoying a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight, you can lower your risk of developing cancer.

Being physically active reduces your risk of bowel cancer, post menopausal breast cancer and uterine cancer. It is also linked to a reduced risk of lung, pancreas and premenopausal breast cancer. Being inactive contributes to weight gain and overweight and obesity increase cancer risk.

Physical activity assists in maintaining a healthy body weight and can improve energy levels and feelings of well being. Being more active is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

For good health, put together at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days of the week. It doesn’t have to be continuous, 3 x 10 minutes sessions are also good. Each activity session should last at least 10 minutes.

To reduce your cancer risk, the more physically active you are the better. Aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity every day.

Moderate physical activity includes any activity in which you can still hold a conversation, such as brisk walking, mowing the lawn and medium paced swimming. Vigorous physical activity includes any activity that makes you ‘huff and puff’, such as fast swimming, fast cycling, aerobics and jogging.


Sometimes it’s hard to get going, so here are a few tips to help you:

  • Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience
  • Be active every day, in as many ways as you can: walk instead of driving to the shops, and walk in your lunchbreaks
  • Think about walking or cycling to work
  • Walk up stairs instead of catching the lift or escalator
  • Do something you enjoy or can do with a friend, like tennis, swimming, salsa, t’ai chi or line dancing.
  • Do vigorous housework like vacuuming or mowing the lawn
  • If you haven’t exercised for a long time and need to shed a few kilos, talk to your doctor first.

Being active, like healthy eating, requires some thought each day. It also needs to be kept up over a lifetime. Regular physical activity will give you extra energy and make you feel better.

Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your doctor.

Further information and resources

This information is based on current available evidence at the time of review. For further information or advice contact Cancer Council 13 11 20.

This information can be photocopied for distribution.

Last updated June 2016.

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Cancer Council ACT



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