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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Physical Activity

Physical activity is any movement that increases your heart rate and breathing. Activities of daily living, active play, sports, and exercise programs represent categories of physical activity that include varying intensity levels - mild, moderate and vigorous.


Educational Tool

Build Your Best Day is a fun, interactive and educational tool to help children and youth aged 5-17 and their parents learn about the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines.

Build Your Best Day!

Image source: ParticipACTION

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Benefits of physical activity:

  • Better health
  • Improved fitness
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Helps you feel more energetic
  • Improved mental health
  • Maintain mobility and be able to be independent as you get older
  • Helps you cope with stress
  • Helps keep you at a healthy body weight

Regular physical activity lowers the risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain types of cancer (such as breast cancer, colon cancer)
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Premature death
  • Overweight and obesity

What’s the difference between physical inactivity
and sedentary behaviour?

Physical Inactivity Sedentary Behaviour
  • Physical inactivity means not meeting the minimum recommendations of the guidelines.
  • The benefits of physical activity come from being physically active.
  • Sedentary Behaviour describes any low intensity activity that you do while you are awake such as sitting or lying down.
  • An individual can meet the physical activity guidelines and still be sedentary if they sit or lie down for prolonged periods of time while awake.
  • To reduce the risk of being sedentary, you need to move more and sit less.


Exercise is physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive for the purpose of healthy wellbeing.

Pre-Screening for Physical Activity Participation

For most people, participating in physical activity is safe. If you have never been active or have been inactive for a while, it is recommended that you complete a physical activity “Get Active” questionnaire. It can help you decide when to check with a healthcare provider before you begin.

Get Active Questionnaire

Date of creation: February 27, 2013
Last modified on: June 2, 2022


1Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. (2016). Guidelines. Retrieved from
2DocMikeEvans. (2016). The Importance of Intensity in Physical Activity. Retrieved from
3DocMikeEvans. (2011). 23 and ½ hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? Retrieved from
4Sedentary Behavior Research Network. (2017). What is Sedentary Behavior? Retrieved from
5ParticipACTION. (2016). Build Your Best Day! Retrieved from