Mobility & Physical Activity of Older Men

Seek to Understand: Mobility and Physical Activity of Older Men

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Alison Phinney, PhD, UBC School of Nursing


Dr. Joanie Sims-Gould, PhD, UBC Department of Family Practice
Dr. Heather McKay, PhD, UBC Department of Orthopaedics and Family Practice
Dr. Stephen Robinovitch, PhD, SFU Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Dr. Christiane Hoppmann, PhD, UBC Department of Psychology
Callista Haggis, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility


Manpreet Gill, MSN student, School of Nursing, UBC
Simran Sahota, MSN student, School of Nursing, UBC
Mrythe Heijnen, PhD student, Wageningen University and Research Center

CIHR Team Grant: Shape the Path: Targeting the Health and Mobility of Older Men through Key Community Partnerships (McKay & Sims-Gould, Co-PIs)


The purpose of this research is to obtain an in-depth contextualized understanding of older men’s experiences of mobility in their everyday activities, and what these experiences mean to them. We aim to: (1) describe how older mens’ masculine identities, roles and relations shape their experience of mobility in the context of their everyday physical activities; (2) determine how men understand the relationship between their involvement in physical activity and their sense of mobility; (3) assess how older men move about in their physical environment, and features they perceive as helpful or constraining to their physical activity; and (4) determine the influence of men’s social environment on their experience of physical activity. The study is designed as an applied ethnography using a combination of interview, observation, and visual methods with a diverse sample of 30 older men. The fieldwork and analysis are guided by theoretical understandings of place and findings will be interpreted via a theoretical view of masculinities as socially constructed practices, referring to the range of ways that men position themselves as men in the context of their everyday lives. Results of this research will inform subsequent interventions studies designed to support older men to be more active.