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Lifelong Activity and Excellence
Recreation’s primary goal is to provide physical activity programs that serve the lifespan of Canadians from childhood through adulthood. It also serves the needs of high performance athletes.
Staying Active for Life
By acquiring a foundation of physical literacy in childhood, Canadians will have the necessary skill sets to stay active for life and, if they choose, to pursue sport excellence. Without this foundation, publicity campaigns to promote “active living” will not sustain active lifestyles for the long term.
The promotion of active, healthy lifestyles for all age groups is a key priority for municipalities. This includes the provision of physical activity programs to all age groups, ranging from active play for pre-school children, to teen and adult fitness classes, to engaging older adults in ongoing activity. Many municipalities have worked with partners in public health, sport and education to develop comprehensive active community plans. These plans include awareness campaigns, program opportunities and events, initiatives aimed specifically at the inactive, and the development of supportive indoor and outdoor environments.
The majority of active lifestyle choices for adults are not sport-centered. Activities tend to be individual and informal, involving walking, jogging, cycling, strength and cardio equipment use, aerobics, or yoga. Some take place in a program class setting, while others are done within the home or community.
Municipalities provide significant fitness centres with weights and cardio equipment, rooms designed for aerobics and other classes, pools supporting lap swimming and water play, pre-school program spaces, and a variety of other amenities supporting active choices. Safe, outdoor environments like park playgrounds or trails are just as important. Especially important are pathway and bikeway systems, linking communities and encouraging active lifestyles.
Partnerships between municipal recreation and sport organizations must also involve education. School districts are a major facility provider, especially in terms of gymnasiums and playing fields. They have major sport systems in place, particularly at the secondary level. They also play a key role in physical literacy development within physical education programs, and as a venue partner for after-school programs.
Sport and sport groups are a potential source of expert coaching and leadership for Recreation. Firsthand contact with high-performance athletes can not only inspire people to lead active lifestyles and equip them with the skills necessary to ensure long term participation, but it can also motivate some young people to pursue sports excellence themselves.
At the same time, participants in recreational sport can be developed into a reliable and experienced volunteer base for major sport-hosting events.