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Editor's letter
Physical literacy

A new initiative is defining and promoting physical literacy, creating a movement that could be a game-changer for the health and fitness industry


Having a solid foundation in physical literacy from the early years onwards enables people to maintain their fitness levels throughout life, so they can realise their potential in their prime, while reducing the likelihood of things such as life changing falls in older age.

This month, a dedicated group of industry professionals has published a landmark paper, Physical Literacy Consensus Statement for England, which defines physical literacy for the first time. The project has taken 18 months to bring to fruition, with financial support from Sport England and the involvement of multiple agencies, experts and organisations. You can read more about it on page 33.

We humans love to do things we’re good at, so people who are physically literate are more likely to be drawn to physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, but we’re not born with these skills and need to be supported to fully achieve our potential at every age.

If children are never encouraged to test their limits physically – to lean to climb and swing, throw, catch, balance and jump – they will simply not learn these skills when the relevant developmental window is open.

If they’re told to sit still all day at school and rewarded for being physically passive, they’ll become sedentary teenagers who grow into sedentary adults and then the health and fitness industry will have a battle on its hands trying to engage them in exercise, while also working to undo a lifetime of less than optimal habits.

Imagine instead, a general population that’s in love with movement from babyhood, where children are encouraged to exercise and move at school, growing into adults with the skills on board to be able to enjoy physical activity. How much growth would our industies experience then?

With this new consensus statement hot off the press, now is the time to develop a global physical literacy strategy that can become a blueprint for every nation.

It must be based on prevention and a proactive approach, so we encourage the development of physical literacy at every stage of life, whether it’s post-natal interventions, school mentoring, workplace wellness or geriatric care: why are older people often only given access to balance training after they’ve had a serious fall, for example?

We’re creating a divided society, with those who are physically literate and those who are not at opposite ends of a continuum and the differences between them will continue to undermine societies and public institutions until this work is done and implemented.

The opportunity is a total game-changer.

Liz Terry, editor [email protected]

 


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17 Jul 2024 Leisure Management: daily news and jobs
 
 
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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2023 issue 9

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Leisure Management - Physical literacy

Editor's letter

Physical literacy


A new initiative is defining and promoting physical literacy, creating a movement that could be a game-changer for the health and fitness industry

Developing physical literacy is a lifelong quest photo: jacob lund

Having a solid foundation in physical literacy from the early years onwards enables people to maintain their fitness levels throughout life, so they can realise their potential in their prime, while reducing the likelihood of things such as life changing falls in older age.

This month, a dedicated group of industry professionals has published a landmark paper, Physical Literacy Consensus Statement for England, which defines physical literacy for the first time. The project has taken 18 months to bring to fruition, with financial support from Sport England and the involvement of multiple agencies, experts and organisations. You can read more about it on page 33.

We humans love to do things we’re good at, so people who are physically literate are more likely to be drawn to physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, but we’re not born with these skills and need to be supported to fully achieve our potential at every age.

If children are never encouraged to test their limits physically – to lean to climb and swing, throw, catch, balance and jump – they will simply not learn these skills when the relevant developmental window is open.

If they’re told to sit still all day at school and rewarded for being physically passive, they’ll become sedentary teenagers who grow into sedentary adults and then the health and fitness industry will have a battle on its hands trying to engage them in exercise, while also working to undo a lifetime of less than optimal habits.

Imagine instead, a general population that’s in love with movement from babyhood, where children are encouraged to exercise and move at school, growing into adults with the skills on board to be able to enjoy physical activity. How much growth would our industies experience then?

With this new consensus statement hot off the press, now is the time to develop a global physical literacy strategy that can become a blueprint for every nation.

It must be based on prevention and a proactive approach, so we encourage the development of physical literacy at every stage of life, whether it’s post-natal interventions, school mentoring, workplace wellness or geriatric care: why are older people often only given access to balance training after they’ve had a serious fall, for example?

We’re creating a divided society, with those who are physically literate and those who are not at opposite ends of a continuum and the differences between them will continue to undermine societies and public institutions until this work is done and implemented.

The opportunity is a total game-changer.

Liz Terry, editor [email protected]


Originally published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 9

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