Moving more helps mobility of older adults with complex health needs




Scientific study title:

Moving More: Supporting Uptake of Evidence for Physical Activity in Older Adults with Complex Health Care Needs



Principal Investigator:

Linda Li, BSc(PT), MSc, PhD Senior Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada; Harold Robinson Chair/Arthritis Society Chair in Arthritic Diseases, Canada Research Chair in Patient-oriented Knowledge Translation, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia

Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PT, PhD, Canada Research Chair (Tier II), Physical Activity, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience; Director, Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, University of British Columbia



Study Start Date:

April 2022

Study End Date:

September 2025


Why do this research?

Physical frailty in older adults occurs when they have reduced daily function and health. Factors associated with frailty, such as low energy and physical weakness, can pose challenges in daily life. These challenges may include difficulties with housework, personal care, leisure activities, and employment. Physically frail adults often have chronic conditions like heart disease, osteoarthritis, and type-2 diabetes that limit their daily activities and independence.


When older adults increased their physical activity, they can help manage their chronic conditions and prevent frailty. Our recent study showed that physical activity counselling by a physiotherapist can help older adults with chronic conditions stay active. The key to that study was having a physiotherapist work with the person to develop a realistic physical activity plan and make updates over time.




What will be done?

In this project, we will adapt the new Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines for older adults at an early state of frailty and with chronic conditions. The Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines adopt an integrated approach which encourages daily physical activity while balancing appropriate sedentary behavior and sleep time. We will test our adapted approach with the one currently used by physiotherapists and determine if it increases the activity time for older adults more than the current approach.


Who is involved?

We have put together a ‘Moving More Team’ which includes experts in health research, physiotherapists, people with chronic conditions, older adults and their caregivers. It will assess if physiotherapists can offer activity counseling to older patients as intended.  We will use our results to develop a large-scale study across Canada to evaluate whether the new counseling approach helps support older adults to be more physically active in a 24-hour day.


Cindy Barha, Jennifer Davis, Ryan Falck, Lynne Feehan, Alison Hoens, Bev Holmes, Michelle Kho, Jennifer Leese, Jasmin Ma, Marilyn Mackay-Lyons, Kenneth Madden , Nancy Mayo, Olga Theou, Hubert Wong, Hui Xie

How do people get involved?

Participant recruitment is currently underway for the Moving More project. At this time, patient partners and rehabilitation therapists are being recruited. Participants will be involved in working groups to identify barriers, facilitators, and opportunities to promote the Canadian 24-hour Movement Guidelines. Recruitment to date has been advertised and presented to the Arthritis Rehabilitation and Education Program (AREP), the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA), and Arthritis Society Canada.

Recruitment for this project remains ongoing. Interested participants can contact the Moving More team (move@arthritisresearch.ca) for more information.



Funding Agency

Canadian Institutes of Health Research