Physical activity is defined by the World Health Organization as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure; this includes movements like crawling, walking, running, or lifting.
People of all ages who are physically active have a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes and depression.
Physical activity is a lot more fun when we’re physically literate. Physical literacy is just as important as the ability to read and write and if we want children to be active for life, it's essential they develop physical literacy at a young age. A person who is physically literate has the confidence and competence to participate in a variety of different physical activities throughout their lifetime.
Through HealthyFamilies BC, the Province's policy framework to promote health and encourage healthier behaviours, and through partnerships that support the development of programs and resources to encourage physical activity throughout British Columbia, we aim to achieve long-term health benefits and improve health outcomes for British Columbians of all ages. Our actions will complement, guide and support the efforts of individuals, groups, and the health sector to promote physical activity, and other healthy living behaviours.
B.C. Physical Activity Strategy
The B.C. Physical Activity Strategy is designed to guide and stimulate co-ordinated policies, practices and programs in physical activity that will improve the health and well-being of British Columbians and the communities in which they live, learn, work and play. It aims to foster active people and active places. Its development was guided by key leaders and organizations across the province who worked collectively to determine the best approach to increasing physical activity rates.
Healthy Families BC/ParticipACTION
The Bring Back Play campaign inspires British Columbians to share fun games and ensure kids have unstructured active time; RBC Sports Day in Canada encourages British Columbians to celebrate the power of sport by trying new sports and celebrating in their communities.
Physical Activity Line (PAL)
The Physical Activity Line is a telephone and online resource providing professional guidance on becoming more physically active (operated by the Health and Fitness Society of BC).
Healthy Families BC Prescription for Health
Prescription for Health provides support through B.C. family physicians to help at-risk British Columbians (smokers, those with unhealthy eating habits, the physically inactive, obese) adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Daily Physical Activity
All students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 are required to participate in regular physical activities that help develop endurance, strength and flexibility. For more information, see the Ministry of Education page on Daily Physical Activity.
Physical activity can benefit British Columbians of all ages. The body responds positively to physical activity, which impacts the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and endocrine systems. This results in positive health outcomes, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and several cancers, as well as other health conditions.
- Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth – This report by ParticipACTION provides a comprehensive assessment of physical activity for children and youth.
- HealthLinkBC: Fitness and Exercise Topics – information about physical activity, getting and staying healthy, plus interactive tools such as “what is your target heart rate?”
- Move for Life DVD - helps older adults stay strong and healthy by adding physical activity options to their daily routine
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines - guidelines that set out recommendations for physical activity, by age group:
- Early years (0-4 years)
- Children (5-11 years) and youth (12-17 years)
- Adults (18-64 years)
- Older Adults (65+ years)
- What is physical literacy – defined by PHE Canada and Canadian Sport for Life