workout equipment

Physical activity counselling

The University of Ottawa offers free Physical Activity Counselling (PAC) to all students, faculty, and staff who are insufficiently physically active and/or want to increase their enjoyment of physical activity.

Physical Activity Counselling focuses on motivating individuals to be more physically active for their own reasons through the use of evidence-based behaviour change techniques. The physical activity counsellors of the PAC program are students who are on the path to becoming registered Kinesiologists, who have taken a course in Physical Activity Counselling which delivers practical training in motivation building and behaviour change. The ultimate goal of the PAC program is to increase levels of physical activity among individuals on campus to improve their overall physical and mental health. 

According to research, the greatest decline in physical activity is suggested to be during the transition from high school to first year university. In addition, the highest rates of depression are reported in ages 15-24, an age group which represents a significant portion of university students. Students are the leaders of tomorrow and it is crucial that they maintain good physical and mental health in order to be successful today and in the future.

To register for free PAC, please send us an e-mail at [email protected] and we will match you with a counsellor as soon as possible.

Location: All counselling sessions are held in Montpetit Counselling rooms or online through Zoom/phone. We also offer walking sessions around campus!

Frequency and duration: Generally, clients receive weekly/biweekly counselling sessions during the first 2 months. The frequency of sessions is adapted to each client according to their needs.

Note: Sessions are highly individualized and are very dependent on the client's needs and schedule.

Our team: This initiative was developed and is supervised by Dr. Michelle Fortier (full professor in Human Kinetics, who teaches the Physical Activity Counselling class, APA4523). Olivia Pastore (manager and counsellor) and Sarah McAllister (assistant manager and counsellor) ensure the good functioning of the program (e.g. promotion, linking clients with the counsellors, organizing monthly meetings with counsellors, etc.). To this date, we have  one Human Kinetics honour's student intern and counsellor, as well as 6 other counsellors on board (Both French-speaking/bilingual and English-speaking only) who are graduate or 4th year students in Human Kinetics trained in Physical Activity Counselling and behaviour change.