Physical Literacy

What is Physical Literacy?

Do you love to be active? Do you find the time to make physical activity part of your daily routine? Do you believe that you can jump in to a new physical activity or sport and kill it? Do you take initiative to make being active a life-long goal? Then you are physically literate and that is physical literacy. If you want the fancy academic definition, it is:

“Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life” (International Physical Literacy Association, 2014).

Physical Literacy Cycle
Physical Literacy (Retrieved from:


Why is Physical Literacy Important?

With so many sedentary activities competing for your time be it your desk job or that viral YouTube video after work, it takes a lot to make time to be active and achieve those 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous of weekly physical activity that ‘they’ recommend for adults between 18 and 64. (Who is they you ask? 'They' in this case is the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology).

They have created 24-hour movement guidelines that acknowledge “the whole day matters” for everyone, including children and youth. Physical literacy can be the difference between choosing to go outside and play with friends or choosing to sit on the couch and play video games.


What are the benefits of Physical Literacy?

Physical literacy is about more than just physical activity. Participating in different types of physical activity and a variety of sports will improve physical literacy. These skills can be developed or improved at any age; however, learning them earlier in life improves long-term physical activity participation.


Learn more about Building Physical Literacy Capacity in Thunder Bay

In 2018, the City of Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit received a grant from the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund to work on a project called “Building Physical Literacy Capacity in Thunder Bay.”

The project will build physical literacy capacity in our community by training passionate leaders who work with children in the early years (0 to 6 years) how to incorporate physical literacy into their programming. The training would take place through a workshop that was designed by Sport for Life to provide an increased understanding of physical literacy development in young children.

This workshop was first offered in the fall of 2018. It went so well that we are pleased to bring Dr. Dawne Clark back to Thunder Bay to facilitate this interactive 2-day workshop again in May 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2020.

After completing the training, participants will receive a certification of completion for the Master Trainer Workshop. Participants will gain knowledge, resources, and tools to be a mentor and build physical literacy capacity in their own workplace or organization.


For Further Information

Call the Physical Activity Program: (807) 625-5900

or toll-free 1-888-294-6630

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