Fitting in Fitness

Simple steps add up

Did you know you benefit from even small amounts of moderate activity throughout the day? Regular physical activity is easier to fit in than you may realize and can lower your lifetime risk for cancer – and heart disease and diabetes, too.

You’ll find the American Cancer Society (ACS) physical activity recommendations for adults and children below. These recommendations are based on the latest scientific information to help reduce the risk of developing cancer.

ACS Physical Activity Recommendation for Cancer Prevention

Adults: Get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these). Getting even more activity is ideal.

Children and teens: Get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day.

  • Moderate activity is anything that makes you breath as hard as you do during a brisk walk. During moderate activities, you'll notice a slight increase in heart rate and breathing, but you may not break a sweat.
  • Vigorous activities are performed at a higher intensity and generally use large muscle groups. They cause a noticeable increase in heart rate, faster breathing, and sweating.

Being more physically active than usual, no matter what your level of activity, can have many health benefits.

It’s also important to limit the time you spend sitting or lying down, such as time spent on your phone or computer, or watching TV.

Examples of moderate and vigorous physical activities


Moderate intensity activities

Vigorous intensity activities

Exercise and leisure

Walking, dancing, leisurely bicycling, ice skating, roller skating, horseback riding, canoeing, yoga

Jogging or running, fast bicycling, circuit weight training, aerobic dance, martial arts, jumping rope, swimming


Volleyball, golfing, softball, baseball, badminton, doubles tennis, downhill skiing

Soccer, basketball, field or ice hockey, lacrosse, singles tennis, racquetball, cross-country skiing

Home activities

Mowing the lawn, general lawn and garden maintenance

Digging, carrying and hauling, masonry, carpentry

Occupational activity

Walking and lifting as part of the job (custodial work, farming, auto or machine repair)

Heavy manual labor (forestry, construction, fire fighting)

No matter what kind of activity you choose, the important thing is to get moving. Try to look for opportunities to be active throughout your day.


The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Revised: June 9, 2020

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