Be physically active

Being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour is essential for health and well-being. Research shows that physical activity can both reduce the risk of some cancers and help prevent some types of cancer coming back. Physical activity also helps to prevent weight gain and obesity, which are risk factors for a number of cancers.

Physical activity has a range of other benefits for cancer survivors. It can boost energy levels, increase muscle strength, improve mobility and balance, relieve stress, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve sleep, and decrease fatigue, anxiety and depression.

For maximum cancer prevention benefits, Cancer Council recommends aiming for at least 60 minutes of moderate activity or 30 minutes of vigorous activity every day. This can be broken up into smaller episodes of at least 10 minutes each. Moderate activity includes brisk walking, swimming and even household chores. Vigorous activity includes football, netball, running and aerobics.

Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. Start physical activity slowly and build up gradually. Many people lose muscle strength during cancer treatment and find it harder to complete tasks of normal daily living. Strength-training (resistance) activities can be very useful to reverse losses in muscle strength.

If you are unsure if you are well enough to exercise or worried about disrupting your recovery, talk to your doctor about the type and amount of activity suitable for you. They may refer you to an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist. Ask about Medicare rebates.

   — Rima

How to be more active

  • Walk with a friend, join a walking group or walk to the corner shop instead of driving.
  • Break up long periods of sitting or screen time by standing up every half-hour.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalators.
  • Do vigorous housework and activities around the home, such as vacuuming, gardening or mowing the lawn.
  • Get off the bus or train one stop earlier or park further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
  • Join a dance or yoga class.
  • Take your children or grandchildren to the park or kick a ball around the backyard.
  • Join an exercise group or a local gym.
  • Try short periods of aerobic exercise (e.g. walking, cycling or swimming), stretching, strength training (resistance exercises), Pilates and tai chi.
  • Talk to your GP before starting a new exercise program. A physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can develop a program that is right for you.
  • If you are being physically active outdoors, remember to protect your skin.
  • See Exercise and cancer for more on this.
  • Call 13 11 20 to find out about survivorship programs in your area.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Living Well After Cancer.

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit:


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit:

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in April 2018
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Life after cancer treatment
Programs and support for people who have finished treatment

Cancer Council Online Community
A community forum – a safe place to share stories, get tips and connect with people who understand

ENRICH – a free healthy lifestyle program
A face-to-face exercise and nutrition program for cancer survivors

Cancer information

Exercise and Cancer
Exercise has many benefits both during and after cancer treatment. It can help with side effects, speed up recovery, and improve quality of life. Watch exercise videos.

Staying healthy after treatment
Lifestyle changes that can help keep you in good health

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends