From the Heart and Stroke Foundation

People age 18 and over need to be physically active 30 to 60 minutes, most days of the week. Incorporating activity into your day will have significant health benefits and may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The actual time you may need depends on the effort you expend. Generally, the less vigorous the activity, the more you'll need to do. For light activities, you'll need to do about 60 minutes a day to stay healthy; moderate activities, 30 to 60 minutes; and vigorous activities, 20 to 30 minutes.

Light activities make you start to feel warm and involve a slight increase in your breathing rate. They require about 60 minutes a day. These may include:

  • Light walking
  • Easy gardening
  • Stretching or yoga
  • A low-intensive game of volleyball

Moderate activities make you feel warmer and increase your breathing rate more. They require 30 to 60 minutes a day. These may include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Riding a bike
  • Raking leaves
  • Water aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Dancing

Vigorous activities make you breathe hard and perspire. They require only 20 to 30 minutes a day. They may include:

  • Aerobics
  • Jogging
  • Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Fast swimming
  • Fast dancing

You may wish to mix and match your activities, varying your level depending on your time, your energy and the circumstances that day. You might choose to do an hour of yard work one day, half an hour of bike riding with the kids the next, and a yoga class the day after that. There's no right combination, as long as you're meeting the minimum times for the intensity you've chosen although chances are that once activity becomes a part of your daily life, you'll feel so good you'll choose to do more than the minimum.

Canada's Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living

Heart and Stroke Foundation


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This article has been independently researched, written and reviewed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and is based on scientific evidence. The information is for reference and education only. This web article is not intended to be a substitute for a physician’‘s advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should consult your physician for specific information on personal health matters. The Heart and Stroke Foundation assumes no responsibility or liability arising from any error in, or omission of, information or from the use of any information or advice contained within this article.

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