Physical literacy is “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” (Active Start, Oct 20, 2017)
Being physically active is more important to health than just about any other part of life over which we have control. Recent research suggests that it is better for your health to be overweight and active than to be of normal weight and be inactive. For this reason alone it is critical that children develop the knowledge, skills, confidence and motivation that give them the very best chance of staying active throughout their lives. These qualities together are known as “physical literacy”.
A child’s movement confidence develops gradually as they grow and learn, and the child is constantly comparing their own level of ability with the ability of the children with whom they play. When a child has confidence in his or her ability to take part in recreational and sporting activities without fear of showing themselves up, the probability that they will join in is high; and if they enjoy the activity they will likely continue with it.
Physically literate children who move with skillful purpose KNOW that they move well, and this confidence encourages them to try new and different activities without fear.
What can being active for life do for us?
Maintain a healthy weight
Reduces risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers
Strengthens bones and muscles
Improves mental health and mood
Improves sleep habits
Improves self esteem
Is associated with higher school grades and work performance
Promotes perseverance and work ethic
Physical literacy is the key both to developing habits of life-long physical activity for enjoyment and health and to the development of elite athletes.