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Physical Activity

“The doctor of the future will prescribe no drugs but will interest his patients in the care and nutrition of the human frame and in the cause and prevention of disease” – Thomas Edison (1847-1931)


Did you know that physical activity is important for many aspect of your overall health?  In fact, it is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and prevent illness. Physical activity has been proven to:

  • Improve mental health
  • Increased fitness
  • Strengthen muscles and bones
  • Help with weight loss, weight maintenance and prevention of obesity
  • Reduce the risk of many chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis
  • Help with the management of many chronic conditions
  • And much more..!
Featured Article

Physical inactivity: the biggest public health problem of the 21st century

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines Recommendations

CHILDREN (5-11 years old) and YOUTH (12-17 years old)

  • 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily
  • Vigorous intensity activities at least 3 days/ week
  • Activities that strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 days/ week

More is better!

ADULTS (18-65 years old)

  • 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity weekly in bouts of 10 minutes or more
  • Muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least 2 days weekly

More is better!

ADULTS (65 years and older)

  • Same guidelines as adults age 18-65
  • Those with poor mobility should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls

Taken from the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology 2011.

Examples of moderate activity: brisk walk, dancing, slow jogging, leisurely swimming, golf, cleaning house, lawn mowing, yoga

Examples of vigorous activity: running, fast cycling, fast swimming, jumping rope, calisthenics (push ups, sit ups, squats, jumping jacks etc…), HIIT (high-intensity interval training)

View Guidelines
Community Resources for Physical activity

Low cost

Various inexpensive fitness centers – many locations across Ottawa – cost depends on membership type and location (approx. 15-25 $ per month + membership fee)

  • Check out GROUPON site for discounts on fitness centers and classes


Check out the city of Ottawa pools for inexpensive public swimming:

Canoeing/ Kayaking/ Paddleboarding

  • Canoe/Kayak/Paddleboat/Paddleboard on Dow’s Lake, Rideau Canal, and Petrie Island
  • June to September. Most rentals under $20
  •  Kid and dog-friendly!

OSSC (Ottawa sport and social club)

  1. Indoor and outdoor sports teams at levels from beginner and up
  2. Adult leagues. Price depending on the sport
  3. Includes badminton, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, floor hockey, football, soccer, softball and more


Yoga on Parliament Hill

Various free running groups throughout the city -The Running Room, Mountain Equipment Co-op and others.

Check out free outdoor equipment around the city such as Street Workout Park – New Edinburgh Park (various bars and abs bench)

Various free or low-cost online fitness videos or applications

  • Fitness or activity trackers such as ‘MyFitnessPal’ or ‘Strava
  • Johnson and Johnson Official 7 minute workout

Landsdowne Farmers Market – Free (unless you buy something)

  • Sundays | Year round | 9am-3pm
  • Great place to walk around, get some organic foods, support local merchants

Biking on the Capital’s pathways and beyond.  Check out the NCC for great biking area suggestions and maps

  • Ottawa river pathway
  • Rideau canal western pathway

Hiking, walking or running

Gatineau Park:

  • Pink Lake
  • King Mountain

Ottawa Greenbelt:

  • Mer Bleue Bog
  • Pine Grove trail
  • Greens Creek
  • Shirleys Bay
  • Stoney swamp
  • Pinhey Forest

For seniors (65+):

Better Strength, Better Balance program at various community centers throughout Ottawa.  Call Ottawa public health 613-580-6744 or go online to register:–better-balance–exercise-program.aspx#central

Heart Wise Exercise – list of free or low-cost resources in Ottawa

From their website, select Location and then ‘Ottawa’ and then ‘Find Locations.’  Can filter by program type, cost and languages offered

Champlain LHIN – List of free classes for seniors in the community

Local Community Health Centres offer free exercise programs and dietary information sessions. See what is offered below, or call a Centre near you.


Fun Facts
  1. Physical activity does not have to be an organized sport. It can be a leisurely bike ride, household chores, gardening, walking or dancing. Getting up and moving has health benefits.
  2. Physical activity improves your mental performance and sharpens your memory
  3. Listening to music during physical activity can improve your performance
  4. Physical activity can help prevent signs of aging and boost your immune system
  5. Physical activity can help improve your self-confidence
  6. Physical activity can help you sleep better



The information and material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.

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