Physical Activity

Let's play!

Self-directed outdoor play has many positive impacts on child development. They move more, sit less and play longer.

The more you move, the better you feel. That’s why physical activity is key to a healthy and happy life.

How communities are planned and built can impact the health outcomes of the citizens who live there and their ability to make healthy choices.

Supports that enhance the built environment by expanding transportation options and increasing access to enjoyable spaces for physical activity and recreation provide universal benefits to the community as a whole.

BCAHL’s support for physical activity in the province is long standing, but we are excited with our new work with the Active People, Active Places Strategy. Our prior work with BCAHL’s four physical activity initiatives were developed to take British Columbians from the TV to the trails. Read about how BCAHL walked the talk in our BCAHL Physical Activity Strategy (2007) and on the Physical Activity website.

We continue to advance policies that will help British Columbians get moving. BCAHL recommends the following policy options:

  • The provincial government (in particular, the Ministries of Community, Sport and Cultural Development; Transportation and Infrastructure; and Environment) work together with the federal government to support municipalities to revitalize aging recreation facilities.
  • The BC Government should invest in active transportation, ensuring at least 7% of all infrastructure funding allocated for urban transit, road and other transportation construction be set aside for active transportation infrastructure.
  • The BC Government should work with communities to support the development of comprehensive policies and strategies that reduce economic, social, cultural and systemic barriers thereby ensuring greater inclusion and access to physical activity facilities and programming for all British Columbians.
  • Continue to support local governments to create complete, connected communities with shops, services, food and employment accessible by transit systems and pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
    • Prioritize for additional funding: neighbourhood with low levels of physical activity and places where infrastructure is inadequate or at full capacity – to expedite expansion of active transportation facilities (i.e.: trails, greenways, bikeways, sidewalks and safe crossings).
  • The BC Government should support the efforts of local governments to apply a healthy living lens to their Official Community Plans.
  • Ensure communities have universal services which will have the greatest impact on healthy child development. Support the expansion of the community-based “neighbourhood hub” as a way to deliver community services.
  • Provide resources for communities to audit and design or retro-fit their communities according to age-friendly guidelines.
  • Increase investments in public transit – emphasize projects that maximize ridership while meeting local and regional needs.
  • Encourage the development of hubs with higher density housing, shops and services to facilitate transit for the surrounding community (transit oriented development) in areas where the density is considered too low to deliver efficient regular transit service.
  • Establish a task force to explore innovative public transportation systems that can serve rural and remote populations and others with mobility challenges.
  • Explore ways to improve transportation to health services including prevention, primary, treatment and tertiary services for rural and remote residents that are unable to afford transportation.
  • Encourage and support walking groups and physical activity events.
  • Enhance access to places of physical activity; both indoor and outdoor.

BCAHL Physical Activities Initiatives:

From 2007 to 2010, BCAHL funded and delivered four physical activity initiatives.

Based on promising practices, the physical activity initiatives provided supports to make it easier for British Columbians to be more active.

Built Environment and Active Transportation (BEAT) – provided tools and grants to build communities where it’s easier to get around by bike or on foot

Community Based Awareness (CBA) – promoted local opportunities for getting active with communications tools tailored to meet the requirements of specific communities

Everybody Active – worked at removing barriers to physical activity and improving inclusion and access for community members with fewer resources

Walk BC – supported walking groups with step-by-step tools and resources for a healthier life

With an interest in contributing to the health promotion knowledge base, BCAHL invested in external evaluation of the initiatives. The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) provided evaluations for select initiatives:

Summary of the MSFHR Walk BC Initiative Evaluation.

For the complete evaluation contact