Physical Literacy

Physical activity and its associated health benefits are well-known to people involved in public health, education, and sport. It is also known that physical inactivity contributes to poor well-being, increased health care costs, reduced quality of life, and shorter life expectancy. This document describes the essential components of physical literacy, outlines how to support the development of physical literacy in all stages of life, and discusses strategies for delivering coordinated physical literacy programs for Canadians of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and abilities.

What is Physical Literacy?

As defined in Canada’s Physical Literacy Consensus Statement (International Physical Literacy Associ-ation, 2014), “Physical Literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” Physical literacy in simple terms is the competence, confidence, knowledge, and motivation to engage in physical activity for life.

Why is it important?

People who are physically literate have the ability to understand, communicate and apply different movements which enables the individual to make healthy lifestyle choices.

How does this affect us?

Only 9% of children achieve the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.


  • encourage kids to be active every day
  • introduce fundamental movement skills through games
  • lead by example and participate in physical activity
  • ensure that youth are not specializing in one sport too soon
  • encourage learning and the understanding that it is okay to make mistakes
  • create an environment where participants feel respected by their peers and their leaders