The Common Vision Project

The Active Alberta Coalition as Alberta’s common voice

In January 2019, WinSport and the Active Alberta Coalition were awarded a grant by Alberta's Minister of Culture and Tourism. In April 2019, under new provincial leadership, the grant was moved to the portfolio of Culture, Multiculturalism and the Status of Women to implement the Common Vision in Alberta's active living sector.

Sedentary lifestyles have become a global crisis. We are experiencing the effects on our physical and mental well-being, our culture and society, environments and government systems.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and other issues related to an overweight and/or obese population have reached extreme levels.1 According to Statistics Canada, in 2017 Canadians (between 3 and 79 years old) spent 554 minutes (9.23 hours) per day sedentary.2,3

We, as human beings, were not designed and built to live a sedentary lifestyle4. According to the Canadian Medical Association (2017), “the fallout from physical inactivity hits our pocketbooks. The estimated direct, indirect and total health-care costs of physical inactivity in Canada in 2009 were $2.4 billion, $4.3 billion and $6.8 billion, respectively."5

In May 2018 Canada's Department of Public Health released the Common Vision for Increasing Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Living in Canada: Let's Get Moving. The vision is to have "a Canada where all Canadians move more and sit less, more often."6

With many provincial, territorial and federal policies and plans to guide the active living sectors, the Common Vision is the first to incorporate them into a single initiative, geared towards getting Canadians healthy. Increasing physical activity levels and decreasing sedentary lifestyles is everyone's concern. These are complex issues with complex solutions; the solution is not found solely in the sport recreation, physical activity and health sectors.

Active Alberta Coalition Common Vision

The Active Alberta Coalition is ready to take on this diverse and complex issue and is invested in becoming a leader, as Alberta's common voice to bring awareness to the Common Vision. Our goal is to make Alberta the healthiest and most active population in Canada.

The information below is found in the Common Vision. The Common Vision is built on five interdependent foundational principles to get Canadians moving: Physical Literacy, Life Course, Population Approach, Evidence-based and Emergent-focused and Motivations. It includes six areas of focus: Cultural Norms, Spaces and Places, Public Engagement, Partnerships, Leadership and Learning, and Progress.

LET'S GET MOVING ALBERTA!

Building Alberta's Common Voice Through the Common Vision

Part I - The Context

Understanding the Common Vision

The Common Vision is the opportunity to have a Canada where all Canadians move more and sit less often.

"Never before has Canada had a singular policy focus on physical activity and its relationship to sport, recreation, health, as well as other relevant policy areas. What's more, this document also addresses the critical issue of sedentary living. It is a new, collective way forward that will guide the country towards ways of increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary living in Canada"

- Common Vision (Executive Summary)

Building on Our Strengths

Canada has a wealth of knowledge and know-how to build on, as well as the experiences and expertise of other countries and international organizations to help move the country forward. The Common Vision draws on the tenets, proven approaches and learnings from other relevant sport, physical activity, recreation, health related frameworks, strategies and reports.

The Common Vision is for you if you are:

  • Looking to increase your program/organizational effectiveness or are looking to improve the lives of Albertans and Canadians;

  • An organization, a member of community or a leader that has a stake in increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary living;

  • Aligning multiple policies, strategies and frameworks.

Together we can:

  • Build awareness and take bold new steps together.

  • Consider ways to promote and share our investment in physical activity and the reduction of sedentary living.

  • Ignite a call to action so that all organizations, communities and leaders have an interest in promoting and supporting physical activity in all its forms in Canada and know that they have a role to play.

Change bad habits and the way too many live now.

  • People go out of their way to be physically active; make physical activity something that is done naturally during leisue time, at a gym or sports field.

  • Sedentary living contributes to poor health and even premature death, nearly 50% of Canadian adults are not physically active enough..

  • We spend too much time being idle, even those who meet the minimum daily physical activity requirements are too sedentary during the rest of the day.

Physical Activity

Any movement of the body produced by skeletal muscles that requires the expenditure of energy.

Examples:

  • Sport and recreational activities
  • Movement happens at home, school, work, during leisure time and when we are getting from place to place
  • Rely less on automation
    • Take the stairs
    • Ride your bike
  • Put the screens down
    • Play outside
    • Walk
  • Promote traditional Indigenous Land-based activities - connecting to the natural environment
    • Hunting
    • Fishing
    • Gathering

Sedentary Behaviour

Any waking behaviour characterized by low-level energy expenditure.

Related to body postures, such as sitting or reclining, in addition to low energy expenditure and physical inactivity

Common behaviours that individuals typically engage in while sedentary:

  • Watching TV
  • Driving to work
  • Reading a book
  • Sitting in classrooms
  • Sitting on a couch
  • Sitting at a desk

Even those who meet the minimum daily physical activity guidelines are too sedentary for the rest of the day.

Utilitarian Physical Activity

Physical activity engaged in for the purpose of accomplishing work, chores, errands or travel; in accordance with one's cultural values and practices.

CSEP Guidelines for Physical Activity & Sedentary Living

CSEP Guidelines

Sedentary Behaviours Cost Us Money and Lives

  • Early research has found that sedentary living contributes to poor health and even premature death.21

  • Physical inactivity is now the fourth-leading risk factor for premature death, after high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes.22

  • In 2009, the Conference Board of Canada estimated that physical inactivity among adults cost the Canadian economy $6.8 billion.23

Our Minds Get Stuck in Habit Loops

Based on popular psychology literature by Will Durant,25 some thinkers have codified the way we form habits into a simple loop: a trigger, a routine, and a reward.

We see something in our environment that sets off the trigger, the trigger leads to a routine. We've internalized this based on our past transactions in an environment. Finally, a reward at the end reinforces said routine.

Our brain is a pattern-seeking survival machine. Habits are how it ensures that we don't have to think too hard about what to do when familiar situations arise, letting us conserve energy.24

In the Past

Physical activity is one of the most basic human functions. Historically, physical activity was incorporated into people’s daily lives through physically demanding work.  Here in Canada, the lives of many Indigenous Peoples were based on holistic relationships to the land, where physical activities were a part of everyday living and cultural orientation.1

Today

Physical activity has been designed out of our lives. It's something done only during leisure time, at a gym or leisure centre, or on a sports field.

In Alberta, we live in the land of opportunity to increase physical activity. We are a playground.

This societal shift away from physical activity has taken decades. It will take time to reverse this trend and return to a more active society.

- Common Vision

Let's Get Moving

What's Stopping Us?

Social & Economic Factors

  • Where we live, work and play

  • Social status

  • Social support networks

  • Education

  • Employment/working conditions

  • Physical & social environments

  • Personal health issues

We are making progress with:

  • The Creation of Livable cities

  • Recreation programs

    • Reduce barriers to participation
    • Address healthy eating, nutrition, personal health, wellness, mental health, social inclusion and local needs

  • School programs that support a comprehensive school health framework

    • Four distinct but inter-related components
      • Social & physical environments
      • Teaching & learning
      •  Policy
      • Partnerships & services

  • An Integrated Healthcare System

    • Prescribe healthy activities
    • Offer practical and proactive advice
    • Support that helps prevent illness

  • Sport for all

    • Ignite the element of fun and play
    • Great for all ages
    • Role modeling opportunity - no specific skill or ability needed

  • Workplace wellness

    • Less sedentary employees = improved health, wellness and productivity

The more Canadians move, the more Canada will benefit.

- Common Vision

Part II - The Foundation: Putting the Common Vision to Work

The Five Guiding Principles

These guiding principles are the foundation to each of the Common Vision strategic imperatives.

Physical Literacy

All governments, organizations, communities and leaders should view physical literacy with a lens that will:

  • Provide Canadians with education, experiences and opportunities to develop their physical literacy

  • Acknowledge physical literacy as a life-long journey and the foundation for an active lifestyle

  • Increase physical literacy in the early stages of development, including through quality daily physical education in school, is key to achieving the goal of the Common Vision

Active Alberta Coalition
Active Alberta Coalition

Life Course

Encourages all age groups to be more physically active.

  • Acknowledges that there are critical periods in early life when social and cognitive skills, habits, coping strategies, attitudes and values are more easily acquired

  • Abilities and skills shape a person's health in later life

Life Course

Encourages all age groups to be more physically active.

  • Acknowledges that there are critical periods in early life when social and cognitive skills, habits, coping strategies, attitudes and values are more easily acquired

  • Abilities and skills shape a person's health in later life

Active Alberta Coalition

Evidence-based & Emergent-focused

  • Evidence-based

    • Decision making is required to identify priorities and strategies that will encourage and enable Canadians to move more and sit less
    • Quantitative data is key to understand the facts
    • Qualitative evidence can help reveal underlying insights and ideas and human relationships that can build trust and understanding

  • Innovation, the development of new sources of exploration and evidence can help achieve the goal or the Common Vision

    • Be evidence-based at its core
    • Support the exploration of new and emerging approaches
      • Engage in intentional and innovative ideas that are emerging
    • Create opportunities for ways to include the 5 principles of the Common Vision in early conversations and planning

Active Alberta Coalition
Active Alberta Coalition

Motivations

  • Systemic changes in the social and physical environments are needed to support more physical activity and less sedentary living

  • Individual motivation is a key driver in being active

  • Motivation to being active can include:

    • Improving health
    • Reducing isolation
    • Improving mental health
    • Enhancing feeling of belonging
      • Consider the individual aspirations of people who are motivated to be active beyond just a desire for physical health.
      • Listen to, and consider, what Canadians want, not just what organizations want to say or tell.
      • Take into consideration an individual’s culture, values, beliefs and practices and ask how these impact a person’s motivation.
      • Consider the range of experiences of all Canadians.
      • Consider the traditions Indigenous people have with physical activity.
      • Look at the continuum - from the pursuit of health and enjoyment, to cultural revitalization, to participation in sport at the highest competitive level. 
    •  

Motivations

  • Sysemic changes in the social and physical environments are needed to support more physical activity and less sedentary living

  • Individual motivation is a key driver in being active

  • Motivation to being active can include:

    • Improving health
    • Reducing isolation
    • Improving mental health
    • Enhancing feeling of belonging
      • Consider the individual aspirations of people who are motivated to be active beyond just a desire for physical health.
      • Listen to, and consider, what Canadians want, not just what organizations want to say or tell.
      • Take into consideration an individual’s culture, values, beliefs and practices and ask how these impact a person’s motivation.
      • Consider the range of experiences of all Canadians.
      • Consider the traditions Indigenous people have with physical activity.
      • Look at the continuum - from the pursuit of health and enjoyment, to cultural revitalization, to participation in sport at the highest competitive level. 
    •  

Active Alberta Coalition

Population Approach

  • Increasing physical literacy will require action to be directed at the entire population, rather than individuals, to achieve the goal of the Common Vision.

  • Recognize the diverse population of Canada.

    • Indigenous, person with disabilities, new Canadians, older adults, women and girls, LGBTQI2-S
    • Be inclusive, equitable, affordable, culturally relevant, and accessible
    • Prioritize accessibility for all
    • Address barriers and improve access to physical activities and opportunities
    • Recognize changes in age-related demographic shift, immigration, urban expansion, depopulation, poverty and income inequality
    • Understand the effects of the diverse geography in Canada and Alberta
    • Establish relationships and bring all groups to the table with an equal voice
    •  

Active Alberta Coalition

This goes from the neighbourhood to the national level - everyone needs to participate!

Part III - The Opportunities: Areas of Focus

Working towards the Common Vision, putting words into actions.

Albertans share the Common Vision: A Canada where all Canadians move more and sit less, more often.

To get Canadians moving more and sitting less requires a multi-faceted and interdependent approach. To overcome the barriers, we need to include more than just sport, physical activity, recreation and health.

Physical activity is influenced by a complex interrelated set of factors and conditions - at the individual and societal level - most of which are not in the domain of sport and recreation policy and programs. They are grounded in the social ecological model for health promotion.

Barriers to Physical Activity

Barriers to physical activity can be both perceived and experienced. To get people moving, we need to take on a 360-degree approach that needs to include more than sport, recreation, physical activity and health. We need to consider an interrelated and complex set of factors and conditions.

Individual Barriers

  • Time constraints

  • Financial constraints

  • Enjoyment of physical activity

  • Competing demands on energy

  • Sense of self-confidence

  • Ability and skills

  • Fatigue/stress from other responsibilities

  • Illness/injury

  • Feeling uncomfortable/embarrassed

  • Lack of/poor role modeling

  • Experience of trauma or crisis

  • Cultural values and practices

  • Safety concerns

Societal Barriers

  • Communities with a dispersed population

  • Lack of active transportation & related supports

  • Lack of 'walkable' communities

  • Lack of childcare

  • Discrimination, leading to exclusion & disengagement

  • Long commute times

  • Nature of workplace/station configuration

  • Financial costs for registration and equipment

  • Climate and environmental challenges

  • Lack of access to sufficient programs/facilities

  • Diverse cultural norms

  • Unsupportive policies and by-laws

  • Lack of sufficient physical activity in and at schools

  • Lack of qualitifed coaches, program leaders, educators/providers

  • Lack of understanding of impacts of sedentary behaviour

Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

- Joshua J. Marine

The Common Vision's Six Areas of Focus

Cultural Norms

The Common Vision defines cultural norms as the establishment of social values and beliefs that contribute to making physical activity the default choice.

Social Norms help us evaluate the social acceptability and appropriateness of one's own actions.

The goal of the Common Vision's Cultural Norms Area of Focus is to create cultural norms where habitual physical activity is part of the daily fabric of our lives. 

Objective:

Create new values and beliefs about all forms of movement that, in turn, help move people away form inactivity and sedentary living.

Use social norms to:

  • Create new values and beliefs about all forms of movement

  • Reinforce more positive movement behaviour

Active Alberta Coalition

Spaces & Places

The goal of the Common Vision's Spaces & Places Area of Focus is to create physical environments that support all forms of movement.

Objectives:

Our spaces and places need to:

  • Build utilitarian physical activity into people's daily routine

  • Have supportive and sustainable physical environments that allow for:

    • Sport and recreational physical activity
    • Paths, parks, green space, trails

  • Remove physical barriers so habitual physical activity can be a part of our daily lives

Active Alberta Coalition

Public Engagement

Canadians know the value of physical activity. We need to help more Canadians better understand how and where to be active, weaving phyiscal activity in as a habitual part of the daily fabric of their lives.

The goal of the Common Vision's Public Engagement Area of Focus to switch focus from awareness to motivation with systematic and sustained public engagement opportunities.

Objective: 

Co-produce public education campaigns that get others involved in planning programs that will work for and with them, using new technologies and tools.

Active Alberta Coalition

Partnerships

The goal of the Common Vision’s Partnership Area of Focus is to create multi-sector approaches from all segments of society; it's essential that we work together.

Objectives: 

To create an awareness and acceptance in Alberta that no one person or organization can implement and integrate the Common Vision alone. Increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary living are complex issues. There is no one single element that impacts people's ability to be active.

Active Alberta Coalition

Leadership & Learning

We need to look and work beyond the traditional physical activity sector to build capacity. Increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary living requires that we go beyond the 'frontline'.

Volunteers are often the backbone of both organized and unorganized physical activity opportunities. It is essential that leaders and volunteers have the capacity, credentials, competencies, cultural sensitivities and be aware of Indigenous history.

The goal of the Common Vision's Leadership & Learning Area of Focus: The circle of influence must be expanded to include all interested organizations and leaders across sectors.

Objectives: 

To increase the circle of influence through all sectors, building a robust leadership and learning network to help build capacity.

Active Alberta Coalition

Progress

Monitor & Report

  • We can become the leader on monitoring, assessing and reporting

  • Bring forward new evidence

    • Let's talk more about how physical activity and sedentary living impacts our lives

  • Let's work together

    • Share and use existing tools and methods to understand what is and isn't working
    • Build, fine-tune and continue to improve monitoring, new resources, strategies and solutions

The Goal of the common Vision's Progress Area of Focus: Alberta will become a leader in monitoring, reporting and the creation of best practices.

Objectives: 

The creation of a comprehensive system, enabling Albertans to monitor and compile our experiences, share our reports and findings, resulting in the creation of new evidence and best practices.

Active Alberta Coalition

To move forward it's vital to know what's working.

Part IV: The Way Ahead - Moving Together

A Common Vision for Increasing Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Living in Canada: Let's Get Moving is nothing less than a rallying cry to get Canadians moving more and sitting less, more often. It was created to guide all sectors and orders of governments in taking bold new steps together to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary living in Canada.

The Common Vision is also an invitation for all organizations, communities and leaders that have a stake in increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary living to come togther by collaborating, coordinating and committing to collective action, while at the same time, respecting the unique roles, responsibilities and resources that each group can offer within their own domains.

- Common Vision

Organizations, Communities, and Leaders can:

  • Promote

  • Share

  • Use

Governments can:

  • Build

  • Broker

  • Convene

Together WE can:

  • Be accountable

  • Collaborate and coordinate

  • Be transparent

Let's get moving towards a more physically active and healthier Alberta.