Small Choice. Big impact.

Small Choice. Big impact.

For researchers working in, and with the community, there is nothing better than seeing the impact of our work in the lives of individuals participating in one of our programs. So I was thrilled to watch an online video interview in Prince Rupert’s The Northern View News of a participant in a physical activity program for older adults now being piloted and evaluated across BC.

Pearl, a participant in our Active Aging BC (ABC) “Choose to Move” program in Prince Rupert, emphasized how she is “out of her exercise slump.… and [she] got a lot more energy and [she] is outside more which is what [she] wanted.”

Yes! This is exactly the kind of positive impact I like to see, and the good news is that the ABC–Choose to Move program and evaluation team are seeing this all over BC.

Suzanne Buller & Pearl Dashwood, Prince Rupert Choose to Move participants. 
Photo curtesy of Shannon Lough, The Northern View.

In Choose to Move, activity coaches in communities throughout the province implement and guide the Choose to Move program. This evidence-based program is designed to help sedentary older adults become more active. The activity coaches are key to the success of Choose to Move. The coaches take ownership of the program and with their support, the participants often become more active. Through our evaluation process, we are hearing great feedback about the positive changes that are occurring in the lives of many individuals who are now ‘choosing to move.’

Individuals like Margaret from Kamloops, who told us that Choose to Move and her activity coach has “motivated [her] to get up and do something…almost every day.” Margaret also added that she has met other participants through the program, and now they are supporting each other when they are “running into some difficulties about getting out and being motivated.”

Stories like these remind me and our team of why we do the work we do and we’re looking forward to hearing from other communities and celebrating their successes.

As the baby boomers age, the proportion of older adults will increase. In Canada, within the next 30 years there will be two adults over age 65 for every child under age 15. Despite the positive effects physical activity can have on health and well-being, older adults are among the most sedentary Canadians. Statistics show that 85% fail to meet the physical activity guidelines.

To address this concern, we entered into a partnership with BC Ministry of Health to reduce physical inactivity and improve mobility in older adults (>65 y). To learn more about our strategy, Active Aging BC (ABC), visit our website at

So what is Choose to Move? Choose to Move is an innovative, effective and evidence-based plan to enhance physical activity and social connectedness of older adults around British Columbia. Two of our community partners deliver Choose to Move: YMCA of Greater Vancouver and BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA).

Choose to Move is currently in 14 communities in a broad geographic region across BC. Choose to Move programs are in smaller, rural communities such as Prince Rupert, and Dawson Creek, mid-size communities such as Kamloops and larger urban centres such as Vancouver Killarney.  Our community partners in all five health authorities have been working hard to communicate Choose to Move opportunities and facilitate older adult participation. To date, 450 inactive older adults are participating in 24 Choose to Move programs across the province!  In September, we are aiming to implement 55 programs in 23 communities and continue our work in improving health and well-being of older adult population in BC.

Click here to find more about Choose to Move locations.