How Much Movement Should I Get? Download the Anticancer Lifestyle Fitness Pyramid

A woman stretching on the ground
The Anticancer Lifestyle Team

The Anticancer Lifestyle Fitness Pyramid is a useful visual representation of the types and amount of physical activity needed to improve your fitness level.

You’ll see that sedentary activity is at the top of the pyramid–meaning that it should be the smallest component of your daily routine. Try to limit the amount of time you are inactive. Also, think about ways to incorporate movement into sedentary activities. For example, tapping your foot or gently twisting or stretching in your chair can burn a few more calories than just sitting still. You might also consider breaking up long periods of sitting with a few moments of standing, stretching, walking or marching in place. All these activities will burn calories and help keep oxygen flowing to your brain, which will also improve your alertness. For those who are unable to stand, please see our chair yoga video with Anticancer Lifestyle Program Instructor Sherry Gamble. 

The largest section at the very bottom of the pyramid represents the activities of daily living, which include the movements that are built into your daily life such as walking the dog, cleaning the house, or walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator.

Here are a few other simple ways to incorporate movement into daily activities: 

  • Lift weights while watching webinars or participating in conference calls. 
  • Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling them. During shelter-in-place, you speak with others while walking outside. 
  • If you take public transportation, get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way. 
  • If possible, walk or bicycle to your destination instead of driving.
  • When watching television, use the commercial breaks to stand up and march in place.  If you’re streaming shows or movies, set an alarm to remind you to get up and move around.
  • Household chores, such as vacuuming, gardening, and washing the car, are great ways to be productive and increase activity levels at the same time. 

Keep in mind that even short bursts of movement add up!


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