Physical Literacy, Defined

Our mission is to foster physical literacy among the residents of Greater Sudbury, which begs the question: what is physical literacy, anyway?

Formally, the International Physical Literacy Association defines it as “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”

Informally, we like to say that physical literacy provides a gateway to physical activity.

After all, when you feel competent in your physical ability, comfortable in your knowledge and motivated to get moving, you’re a lot more likely to engage in physical activity—and keep engaging throughout your life.


Why Physical Literacy is Important

An Inactive Population

Research shows that most Canadians aren’t as active as we could – or should – be.

According to recommendations from the federal government, adults should get 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, while children and youth should do the same for 60 minutes each day.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of us are failing to meet those standards. More than 60% of children and youth, and over 80% of adults, fail to get the recommended amount of physical activity.

In addition to hurting our health, our inactivity is costing us. According to government figures, treatment of chronic diseases linked to physical inactivity costs the healthcare system up to $6.8 billion annually.

A Gateway to Physical Activity

Physical literacy serves as a gateway to physical activity. Research strongly suggests that one of the best ways to help the population avoid the negative effects of physical inactivity is to foster physical literacy in people from a young age, which empowers them to be more physically active throughout their lives.

In fact, a study published by Dr. John Cairney and colleagues shows the connections between physical literacy, physical activity and health outcomes across an individual’s entire lifespan.

The findings? Physical literacy in early childhood leads to increased physical, mental and social health into old age.

Get in Touch

Interested in attending a workshop, becoming a partner or learning more about how you can help us foster physical literacy? Get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.