Tertiary 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.

Tertiary Prevention

Tertiary prevention focuses on people who are already affected by a disease. The goal is to improve quality of life by reducing disability, limiting or delaying complications, and restoring function. This is done by treating the disease and providing rehabilitation. The treatment team can include several professionals including your doctor, medical specialist, qualified exercise professional, occupational therapist and physiotherapist.

Deciding if Physical Activity is Right for You

  • Call 8-1-1 to speak with a qualified exercise professional for advice.
  • Fill out a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire for Everyone (PAR-Q+). If you answer yes to any of the PAR-Q+ questions, you should take the ePARmed-X+ exam.
  • Have a fitness assessment and/or lifestyle appraisal by a qualified exercise professional.

Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity

Some of the barriers may be caused by your medical condition. Talk to your health care provider or a qualified exercise professional about any concerns or barriers you have and how to overcome them.

Types of Activities

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

  • Activities for strong bones and muscles.
  • Activities for safe and healthy joints and muscles.
  • Activities for healthy and strong heart and lungs.

If your treatment team approves, you can usually gradually progress to 30 or more minutes of moderate activity 5 to 7 days per week. Activity can be done 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Check with your health care provider to see what types and amounts of activities are best for you. Find out if an increase in physical activity will affect the medication you’re taking. Also, find out if any of your medications affect your ability to be physically active safely, or affect your response to an activity. If so, chair exercises may be more appropriate.

Last Reviewed: November, 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.

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