Looking for ways to support your clients to be more physically active? Our Physical Activity Counselling Toolkit may be just what you are looking for!
Watch our 2-minute video on how the Physical Activity Counselling Toolkit can help you!
Using the Resources for Counselling
The toolkit includes handouts for practitioners to use when counselling clients on starting and maintaining a physically active lifestyle. The 10 handouts focus on different physical activity topics. They are available in six languages, and a set was tailored for Northern populations and French Northern populations in partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories.
Practitioners: here are a few tips to keep in mind when using the toolkit:
Each resource in the toolkit has been designed to help facilitate the physical activity counselling process.
Practitioners should use these resources in conjunction with other approaches and techniques used for physical activity counselling.
These resources are not designed for clients to use on their own. Rather, a practitioner should meet with a client to review and discuss the content of each resource being used.
The resources are also available in French, Punjabi, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean for those clients who may have limited knowledge of English. In addition, a set is tailored for Northern populations and French Northern populations, in partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories.
The resources that have been developed for the Physical Activity Counselling Toolkit are written in plain language and are intended to widen the choice of resources available to practitioners. We hope that practitioners will find some or all of the resources to be of practical, day-to-day assistance when working with clients.
Identifying the Need
Before this project began, the Centre had been approached by and spoke with a wide range of practitioners (e.g., exercise physiologists and others) over a significant period of time. Collectively, the practitioners clearly identified an increasing need for appropriate resources or tools that would help them with physical activity counselling, especially in healthcare settings.
Some examples of the key problems that practitioners encountered include:
many available resources are not evidence- or behaviour-based;
many available resources are not suitable for different audiences (e.g., for people with chronic conditions) or do not have appropriate content or messaging;
many (or most) resources are not written in plain language (for easier readability by the public, and by people with low literacy or whose first language is not English); and
most resources are not written in other languages.
The lack of appropriate (or quality) resources is a problem shared by many practitioners who play a direct role in promoting physical activity. Although practitioners do have access to quality resources such as the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, such resources may not be the most appropriate tool for different clients.
Developing the Resources
Each resource in the toolkit:
reflects the current literature and research;
has a focus towards behaviour change (not just an educational focus);
is written in plain language;
is formatted to ensure high standards of readability are met; and
meets the needs of practitioners working with clients who have a chronic condition(s) or are at risk of developing a chronic condition(s).
During the development process, each resource was evaluated to improve the readability and suitability for the general public. In addition, the resources were field-tested and evaluated by practitioners and their clients, throughout the province.
Each resource has been reviewed and endorsed by the Alberta Provincial Fitness Unit.
The Alberta Centre for Active Living led the development of resources included in the toolkit. An advisory committee of Alberta-based practitioners provided guidance, helpful inputs and expertise.
Angela Torry, Project Coordinator and Content Developer
Don Buchanan, Editor
Betty Lee, Graphic Design
Advisory Committee members
Marni Armstrong - Exercise Physiologist, PhD candidate, University of Calgary
Nancy Becker Hallford - Health Literacy Consultant, Chronic Disease Management, Alberta Health Services
Taniya Birbeck - Exercise Specialist, Chronic Disease Management, Alberta Health Services
Steven Cheetham - Exercise Specialist, Edmonton North Primary Care Network
Judith Down - Director, Alberta Centre for Active Living
Katherine MacKeigan - Director, Provincial Fitness Unit of Alberta
Janice Patterson - Active Living Specialist, Health Promotion, Disease & Injury Prevention, Population & Public Health, Alberta Health Services
Dr. Ron Sigal – Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine, Cardiac Sciences and Community Health Sciences, Faculties of Medicine and Kinesiology, University of Calgary
Dr. Lorian Taylor - Dietitian, PhD (health literacy expert)
Lisa Workman - Kinesiologist/Exercise Specialist, Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network
The Alberta Centre for Active Living thanks the advisory committee members for their hard work, dedication and involvement in this project. As well, thanks to the practitioners and their clients who participated in evaluating the resources. Thanks also to the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks & Wildlife Foundation and the Government of Alberta for funding of this project.
References and Useful Links
For each Toolkit resource, we have provided references and useful links.
American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association. (2010). Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes: Joint Position Statement. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 42, 2282-2303. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181eeb61c