Mobility – How Important Is It?

Staying mobile feels good. But it does so much more! It keeps us healthy.

Staying active helps us:

  • Live longer
  • Stay out of hospital
  • Avoid falls
  • Continue to live independently

It also:

  • Boosts our mood
  • Improves our sleep
  • Sharpens our focus…and more

Mobility works best as a form of preventative health. It’s something you can do that helps prevent illness and injury.

Staying mobile is for everyone. Although aging brings changes in mobility, there are many ways to manage these. This page is a starting point.

Common Myths About Mobility

Myth #1: Losing mobility can’t be avoided as you age

This common belief is not backed up by evidence. Mobility at 80 might not look the same as it does at 20, but with the right support, you can stay mobile your whole life.

Myth #2: Once you lose mobility, you can’t get it back

If you hit a setback—a stay in hospital, a change in health, or simply a time where you haven’t managed to stay active—you can bounce back.

Myth #3: You must exercise

Yes, the physical and mental health benefits of exercise are huge! But if you have never liked exercise, there’s a fair chance you won’t like it as you age. If that’s you, don’t give up. You can stay mobile—you simply need to move. See Look Beyond Exercise below, for ideas and information. Also, you can take lifestyle and health care actions that will make it easier to stay mobile.

Six Tips to Get and Stay Mobile

A Tip for Caregivers

Allow the person you’re caring for to do as much as they are able for themselves. Notice and celebrate the physical things they can still do. If possible, let them be the ones to get up and let the dog out, make tea, wash the dishes, and do other tasks. All this counts as activity. It will help them remain mobile.

Help is Available

Help is available in your community. You can meet with a physiotherapist, kinesiologist, or other trained health care worker. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to see them.

They will work with you on your personal needs and wishes. For instance, perhaps you want to feel steadier on your feet (improve balance). Perhaps you wish you were more physically able to get to your book club. You might work one-on-one with them or in a group.

Find this support through your local seniors’ recreation centre, ask your doctor, or call 211.

Getting mobile again after a setback

Life has its ups and down. These affect our activity levels at any age. Luckily, there are ways to get moving again. Also, health care providers can help you.

Recovering from surgery and hospital stays

Mobility and general physical health are what most influence how people recover and whether they go home or to long-term care after a hospital stay. But older people in hospital are out of bed only 54 minutes every 24 hours.

In the hospital

Let staff know you want to stay as mobile as possible. Ask for their help and advice. You can do bed exercises, or if you are able to walk around, find a destination in the hospital you can visit each day.

Leaving the hospital

As you prepare to leave the hospital, your health care team will work with you to create a discharge plan. Once back home, follow the discharge plan. And don’t be shy to ask the people in your life to help keep you active!

Looking for inspiration?

Read about 90-year-old Solange Lemieux. Just weeks after emergency surgery for bowel obstruction, she was back home and feeling as healthy and able as ever. This didn’t happen by luck. Solange took part in a trial program which focuses on bed mobility, balance, walking, and climbing stairs while in hospital.

Similar hospital programs have led to 19% fewer major complications and deaths for patients who participated.

Based on her experience, Solange says, “Too many people seem to think, I’m old, I can’t do this. And they seem to lean back and slow down. I think people think about the future too much. You have to work from day to day.”

Getting moving after a pause

A vacation, a change in the weather, or something as simple as an exercise class being cancelled or a walking buddy moving away can mess up your routine. Don’t give up! Look for a new class, or a new buddy. Switch activities. Or you may simply need to start again, but slowly. No matter what, moving will help you stay healthy and feel good.


Quick info

Tip sheets:

In-depth info

  • Inactivity Prevention Package
    • 15 exercises, with diagrams and clear, simple explanations on how to do them correctly and safely
  • Your Plan to Get Active Everyday!
    • This 32-page booklet from the Heart and Stroke Foundation has information for all-ages. It offers tips on  how to sit less, how to make an activity plan, and an activity log.


  • Learn More
  • Call 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for the deaf and hard of hearing) toll-free in B.C. to talk to a qualified exercise professional for free.  Ask questions and get advice about physical activity and advice. Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Translation services available in more than 130 languages.
  • You can also connect with HealthLinkBC’s qualified exercise professionals by email

Osteofit and Get Up and Go classes

  • Fall prevention classes offered in various community and recreation centres in B.C.
  • Learn More

Be Active—First Nations Health Authority

  • Exercise programs, contact to many First Nations sports clubs and associations (golf, soccer, canoeing, and more) and links for more information
  • Learn More

ISPARC Move | Play | Compete – Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council