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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Physical Activity for Everyone

Adults Walking

Physical Literacy

“Individuals who are physically literate move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person.” (Physical and Health Education Canada)

Physical literacy is essential for optimal growth and development. Children begin to develop physical literacy at a young age through the development of motor and fundamental movement skills. These skills include running, jumping, throwing, catching, swimming and kicking. The opportunity to use these skills at a young age allows the movements to become part of the brain and body’s development and helps prevent injuries. Parents can encourage their children to learn these skills by allowing them to take part in adventurous play in unstructured environments where they can experience a variety of movements and activities and learn what their bodies can do. Children will feel more confident and able, and have a better understanding of how to play. This leads them to be more likely to enjoy an active life into adulthood. Alternatively, children and youth who do not develop physical literacy often lack confidence in their abilities, withdraw from physical activity and turn to more inactive and/or unhealthy choices (Canadian Sport for Life). Lacking the ability to perform only one fundamental movement skill can limit future opportunities for physical activity. Physical activity is much more fun when we’re physically literate.

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