Physical literacy: moving throughout life (part2)

Reading time: 5 minutes

Dance, walk, jump... It doesn't matter, just get moving!

This is the lesson to be learned from our previous article... (Here)

Humans are not designed to be sedentary... In fact, it's very bad for our health.

We sit for far too long in our modern lives.

So let's take a look at this concept adopted by Canada: physical literacy.

You'll know and understand everything in a few moments...

What's it all about?

Some official definitions:

It is "the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that an individual possesses that enables them to value and take ownership of their commitment to physical activity throughout their lives." (International Physical Literacy Association, 2014 - Canadian Consensus Statement on Physical Literacy, 2016)

Or: "Physical literacy is the skill, knowledge and behaviors that give us the confidence and motivation to move throughout our lives " (Canada 2019).

Let's illustrate this idea:

In other words, physical literacy is a physical, cognitive and intellectual capital acquired over a lifetime.

It's the skills, knowledge and behaviors that give us the confidence and motivation to keep moving throughout our lives.

These elements keep us in good physical and mental health.

An example?

Let's imagine a young boy who, throughout his life, moves and learns how to move.

As a child, he is taught motor skills such as walking, dancing and pirouetting.

At school or at play, he discovers how to move and how his body works.

Then he grows and acquires other skills that will enable him to have confidence in his body, but also in himself, in his physical abilities by constantly surpassing himself and discovering how to push back his limits.

This can involve sporting activities in a variety of disciplines such as swimming, soccer, judo and so on.

He rubs shoulders with other children, then with other young people like himself...

In addition to his physical abilities, he now has social references and mental points of support: he gains confidence in his ability to speak and socialize with others!

His background gives him motivation, confidence and peace of mind...

It's an acquired skill, a habit that gives him balance, maintains his physical and mental health and prevents certain illnesses... And that he'll keep for the rest of his life.

It's the principle of physical literacy!

A " philosophy of life centred on the way we move our bodies".

This holistic concept is based on 3 interrelated pillars :

1. Motivation and knowledge

To take up a sporting activity, you need to be motivated.

The more confident someone is in their knowledge and skills, the more motivated they are to continue what they've started...

Confidence and motivation are linked!

Motivation to participate is greatest when a person is convinced of his or her ability to perform the required movements.

We then gradually acquire knowledge and an understanding of this knowledge.

In other words, what we are capable of doing with our knowledge of our body, our limits and our abilities.

You see yourself as a physically active human being. You get to know yourself better.

2. Physical competence

Developing know-how and motor skills, having the ability to execute different sequences of movements- this is what is meant by physical competence.

By developing this skill, you can deal with different situations and approaches to physical activities and sports. Conversely, by discovering different sports, you discover multiple skills and techniques that will develop your physical competence. Once again, everything is linked.

3. Confidence

Confidence is the logical consequence of practice and skill acquisition.

Confidence in yourself, in your body's control, enables you to take on new challenges.

Once again, it's a virtuous circle: the more confident you are, the greater your chances of success, and the more successful you are, the more confident you are, and so on.

But self-confidence doesn't stop at physical skills, it also extends to the people you meet, the social network you have: the coaches, trainers, friends and family who support you during your activities, or whom you meet during your activities.

As you can see from the image above, it's really a circle of 3 interdependent elements...

This will mobilize 4 important dimensions:

1. An affective dimension: the emotion and self-confidence obtained during and thanks to physical activity.

2. A physical dimension: developing motor skills and self-knowledge, strengths and limitations through practice.

3. A cognitive dimension : we learn how to practice and become aware of the benefits of an active, sporting lifestyle.

4. A behavioral dimension: we develop the ability to communicate through the social interactions made possible by sport and physical activity.

The benefits of physical literacy

We can write a long list of the benefits of physical literacy.

Especially now that the Canadian government has made it a priority to combat sedentary lifestyles and physical inactivity.

Here is a non-exhaustive list:

- Good health: we all know the positive effects of sport and physical activity on the body and life expectancy. We also know the extent to which it helps prevent certain chronic heart diseases and other conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

- Developing motor skills: knowing how to move and control your body is a necessary skill that will stay with you for the rest of your life. From this essential foundation, we can adapt to different sports and develop other skills... Fundamental motor skills (running, jumping, throwing, etc.) and basic physical literacy skills (agility, balance, coordination and speed) are the foundations of physical literacy.

- Being socially at ease: by playing team sports, you acquire an ease with others, a kind of facility for social interaction and bonding.

- Being safe: acquired skills (psychological and physical) give you the ability to avoid certain injuries and accidents. Example: knowing how to fall (as in judo), learning to walk and run on slippery surfaces (snow, puddles, ice), etc.

- Gaining stamina: with confidence, knowledge and skill, you learn to discipline yourself. In this way, practice becomes regular and daily, building physical as well as mental stamina. This is a considerable advantage when it comes to taking on challenges, sporting or otherwise... for work, family, etc. Example: to run a marathon, you need as much physical and mental stamina as you do physical skill.

‍As you cansee, physical literacy is simple: all you have to do is integrate movement into your everyday life... And if possible, starting at an early age.

This is how we can increase life expectancy and reduce the new scourges of the modern world, such as sedentary lifestyles, obesity and so on.

School, work, home... all living spaces are concerned.

If Canada has understood the vital importance of this idea, it's up to us to do the same.

Government and business must be able to think and implement structures that include the goal of physical literacy.

Through the physical and sporting activities it offers, Spart hopes to contribute as much as possible to this ambition.

Well-being, sport and health, but also conviviality remain our objectives.

So we're totally sold on physical literacy... How about you?

By Edmond Kean

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