Why Physical Literacy Matters
Described as the collective influence that personal, task and environmental factors have on how we move, our Physical Literacy reflects the extent to which our movement behaviours shape our health, wellness and quality of life. It also underscores the importance of being physically fit, while highlighting the fact that possessing the fitness (e.g. aerobic capacity) to perform a particular activity may mean very little without also having the awareness, confidence or requisite mobility to move safely and effectively.
For these reasons, when assessing a client’s physical needs their movement patterns must be assessed within the context of any relevant task demands. Knowing whether the client is able to control motion of their knees, back and shoulders, for example, across a range of activities requiring varying degrees of physical fitness will shed light on their physical literacy and help to personalize any exercise, education or coaching recommendations.
The Physical Literacy ScreenTM
The Physical Literacy ScreenTM comprises a series of 15 tasks that can be used separately or collectively to better understand how an individual moves while performing a series of general movement patterns. The 15 tasks are also separated into 3 categories each differing in the physical demands imposed.
REPETITION tasks impose a LOAD challenge (i.e. 15 repetitions per limb).
WORK tasks impose a TIME challenge (i.e. 30 seconds continuously).
TEMPO tasks impose a SPEED challenge (i.e. 10 repetitions in 15 seconds)
The Physical Literacy Screen can be used to categorize performers as being: A) physically literate (fitness and movement), B) physically fit (fitness only), and C) not physically fit (no fitness or movement).