Physical literacy talking point at Sport NB summit
Exercise physiologist wants schools to focus more on fitness
One participant in the Sport NB Summit, going on this week in Fredericton, is playing up the importance of physical literacy in the province.
Dean Kriellaars, an exercise physiologist at the University of Manitoba, said physical literacy contributes to a better life all around.
"This is not just about physical fitness, this is about mental wellness, about social connectedness and that's a critical thing,"
Kriellaars said a lack of physical literacy is a fairly new phenomenon.
"We used to be in a culture where we moved a lot, and that means we participated with each other face to face, that means we developed social skills, we developed mental fitness skills, we developed physical fitness skills," said Kriellaars.
Kriellaars said part of the reason kids aren't as active is schools not viewing physical education as important as other subjects.
"We've really pushed for 100 years the concept of literacy, reading and writing, and we've become the most knowledgeable society on the face of the planet," said Kriellaars.
"We don't value movement. Phys-Ed is a second rate citizen, it needs to be on equal footing. Learning to move is just as important as learning to read and write, if not more important."
Kriellaars cautioned against blaming technology, whether it be television, cell phones or video games, as the reason behind a lack of fitness.
"I look at these pieces of equipment that we have, which are marvels of technology, they're not evil inside. It's our attitudes and values as Canadians who choose to use this," said Kriellaars.
One reason Kriellaars said some children may not be as physical literate is how sports are seen, sports programs that focus on winning instead of activity. He said kids should be encouraged to participate in sports, regardless of their skill.
"What we need to do is make all children feel [included] in sport and recreation and physical education," said Kriellaars.
With files from Information Morning Fredericton