Primary Prevention

Regular physical activity can improve your health and help prevent chronic diseases, like arthritis, asthma, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. There are 3 levels of disease prevention:

  1. Primary Prevention - trying to prevent yourself from getting a disease. 
  2. Secondary Prevention - trying to detect a disease early and prevent it from getting worse.
  3. Tertiary Prevention - trying to improve your quality of life and reduce the symptoms of a disease you already have.

Primary Prevention

At the primary prevention level, we try to avoid getting a disease by leading a healthy lifestyle. This can include physical activity, good nutrition, getting enough rest, reducing stress, having regular medical check-ups and trying to stay away environmental risks and harmful substances.

Here are some steps to take if you'd like to use physical activity as a form of primary prevention.

Deciding if Physical Activity is Right for You 

Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity

There are lots of reasons for not being physically active. For tips on how to overcome these barriers, see Overcoming Barriers: Adding More Physical Activity to your Life.

Types of Activities

There are 3 types of activities to keep your body healthy:

  1.  Activities for strong bones and muscles.
  2.  Activities for safe and healthy joints and muscles.
  3. Activities for healthy and strong heart and lungs.

Adults should do 30 or more minutes of moderate activity 5 to 7 days per week. Children and youth should do 90 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. Remember, activity doesn't have to be done all at once. It can be done 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

Last Reviewed: December 2016


© 2016 Province of British Columbia. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with a health professional. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

Thanks to our partners and endorsers: