Physical Literacy, Running and the AMA Youth Run Club

By: Megan McKinlay, Resident blogger, Physical Literacy Coordinator & Southern Alberta AMA YRC Coordinator

Physical activity is a lot more fun when we’re physically literate. If kids (and adults!) have the skills they need, they can engage with poise and confidence in any activity they choose.

Being physically fit doesn’t necessarily mean you’re physically literate, although both contribute to the likelihood that someone will choose to participate and be engaged in physical activity. The diagram below, created by Dr. Dean Kriellaars, illustrates the interconnected relationship between fundamental movement skill development, physical literacy, fitness and active participation in sport and physical activity.


AMA Youth Run Clubs across the province are raising physical activity levels at school. In the 2013-14 school year, students participating in the run clubs were 2 to 3 times more likely to achieve 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, while 82 per cent of teachers said AMA Youth Run Club helped their school engage students who are not traditionally active. 

Since we know physical literacy is also a big driver of sustained participation in physical activity in the long term, here is one simple way to ensure physical literacy development is a part of your AMA Youth Run Club:

  • Start your practice with a warm up activity that incorporates a variety of skills, beyond just running. To become physically literate, kids need a wide range of skills. The warm up is an opportunity to explore diverse fundamental movement skills, making the practice more fun for students, while helping to prevent injuries. Use the resources below to create a warm up:
    • Canadian Sport for Life’s Physical Literacy Movement Preparation Guide is a great (free) guide to movement preparation that’s geared towards physical literacy – focusing on the techniques that improve and incorporate fundamental movement skills. 

  • Be Fit For Life Network’s Move & Play Through Physical Literacy resource is a guide for leaders with over 75 activity cards for kids aged 3-12, focusing on the first three stages of the Long Term Athlete Development Model. See the Coach’s Handbook for some Move & Play teacher favourites pictured on pages 32-33, available here. The full set of cards are $40, available online