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 also an effective mechanism for improving mental health, increasing social interactions and can lead to community economic benefits. While British Columbia is often the most active province in Canada, we still have room to improve.
Physical activity is a lot more fun when we are 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 is essential they develop physical literacy at a young age. A person who is physically literate is more likely to have the motivation, confidence, and competence to participate in a variety of different physical activities throughout their lifetime.
B.C. Physical Activity Strategy
Active People, Active Places: BC Physical Activity Strategy was released in 2015 as a ten-year physical activity strategy for British Columbia. Embedded in the Strategy is a Framework for Action that guides collective efforts across the sport, physical activity, and recreation sectors to increase opportunities for physical activity. An initial three-year action plan (2015/16 – 2017/18) mobilized key initiatives within the Framework for Action that aimed at increasing physical activity rates within the key focus areas of Early Years, Children and Youth, Indigenous Peoples, Older Adults and Active Communities. 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. The provincial initiatives that were supported within the initial three-year action plan were evaluated to assess reach and impact.
The initiatives and activities undertaken to support this initial three-year action plan built significant capacity within and across a number of sectors and settings to provide increased opportunities and resources for British Columbians to engage in regular physical activity.
Building off the momentum created through the coordinated actions and investments undertaken during the initial three-year action plan, a new three-year action plan – Action Plan 2.0 (2020-2022) – has been developed to guide continued work towards the goals outlined in the B.C. Physical Activity Strategy. The development of Action Plan 2.0 included a province-wide consultation process, where stakeholders from multiple sectors were engaged, including: sport, recreation, physical activity, health, academia, not-for-profit, and government.
A status update report for Active People, Active Places was released in February 2020. The 2020 Active People, Active Places Status Update Report (PDF, 9.2MB) is divided into three sections:
- A summary of Action Plan 1.0 (2015-2018),
- An overview of the evaluation results, for the initiatives supported as part of Action Plan 1.0
- Action Plan 2.0 (2020-2023)
BC Physical Activity Strategy in the era of Covid-19
Action Plan 2.0 was developed for the years 2020 -2023; however, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ability to move forward action plan objectives and approaches during this time period. While the overarching goals of the Active People, Active Places: BC Physical Activity Strategy are more important and relevant now than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way we need to address some of the objectives and approaches outlined in Action Plan 2.0.
Physical Activity Services
Physical Activity Services at HealthLink BC provides general physical activity information and professional guidance to residents of British Columbia to help them be more physically active and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Learn more about additional physical activity resources to support you along your physical activity journey:
- Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth – This report by ParticipACTION provides a comprehensive assessment of physical activity for children and youth.
- Report Card on Physical Activity for Adults – This report by ParticipACTION provides a comprehensive assessment of physical activity for adults.
- 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 24-Hour Movement Guidelines – guidelines promoting the optimal amount of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep needed to achieve health benefits and categorized by age group:
- Early years (0-4 years)
- Children and youth (5-17 years)
- Adults (18-64 years)
- Older Adults (65+ years)