Staying Mobile: The Secret to Ageing Well?

Staying Mobile: The Secret to Ageing Well?

As we age, it’s natural for our bodies to start slowing down. Our muscles weaken, joints wear out and bones start losing strength. However, we shouldn’t accept all of this as a part of the ageing process as there are things we can do to minimize the risk of osteoporosis, falls and fractures. Current research shows that the more effort we put into strengthening our bodies through exercise, especially early in life, the longer we can stay mobile.

UBC experts in bone and joint health participated in a panel discussion at the Southern Medical Program - Clinical Academic Campus at Kelowna General Hopsital on Wednesday, October 24th. Panelists discussed the importance of mobility for healthy ageing and gave some practical tips indended to help maintain the body, mind and independence into later years.

Please click here for a podcast from the event.

Photos from the event:


Karim Khan - Co-Theme Leader, Fracture Prevention, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility; Professor, UBC Department of Family Practice


Gareth R. Jones - Assistant Professor, Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health and Social Development, UBC's Okanagan Campus

Heather McKay - Director, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility; Professor, UBC Departments of Orthopaedics and Family Practice

Jack Oliver - Orthopaedic Surgeon; Clinical Professor, UBC Departments of Family Practice and Orthopaedics

Joanie Sims-Gould - Research Associate, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility


Panelist biographies

Karim Khan

Dr. Karim Khan is Professor and clinician-scientist, Department of Family Practice, UBC. Dr. Khan has achieved international recognition for studies promoting greater mobility among vulnerable seniors. In a medical community that often focuses on pharmaceutical therapies, Dr. Khan has consistently reported the large benefit of physical activity for public health. He has published extensively, including those in high impact journals such as the British Medical Journal. Dr. Khan is also the Editor of the British Journal of Sports Medicine which has an international membership reach of 5,000 clinicians interested in sport, exercise and physical activity. Reflecting his contribution to knowledge translation, he is coauthor of the leading medical monograph for general practitioners and physiotherapists, Clinical Sports Medicine (4th Edition).

Research Interest/ Areas of Expertise:
•    Falls prevention among seniors - falls can be prevented!
•    Physical activity and mobility - exercise is medicine
•    Randomized trials of exercise prescription in patients with osteoporosis and at high risk of hip fracture - bone health across the lifespan
•    Pathogenesis of tendinopathy - why do people get injured tendons and what treatments work

Gareth R. Jones

Dr. Jones was the Director of the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, from 2002-2005 and in 2004 he organized the 6th World Congress on Aging and Physical Activity. From 2005 to 2007, Dr. Jones was an Assistant Professor within the School of Occupational Therapy at the University of Western Ontario. On January 1, 2008, Dr. Jones and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Jakobi, commenced joint faculty positions in Human Kinetics in the Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC-Okanagan. He currently delivers courses in Healthy Lifestyle Management, Physical Activity in Canadian Society, and in Program Evaluation.

His primary research interest is to seek and understand the contribution and interaction of both biological and psychosocial variables that may define an older adult's choice of occupational activities directed toward advancing active life expectancy (independent living). Current research initiatives include:

•    Development and evaluation of interventions and therapies that target the prehabilitation and rehabilitation needs of frail older adults, and those with dementia
•    Co-development and validation of a physical activity telephone survey (Phone-FITT) to assess and quantify physical activity levels in community-dwelling seniors
•    Evaluating the influence of climate on physical activity patterns in older adults
•    Collaborating on studies investigating the impact of instrumental activities of daily living on predicting falls in older adults and understanding muscle fatigue and sarcopenic obesity in persons with type 2 diabetes and those with frailty syndrome
•    Recently, he was appointed to the National Advisory Board for the development of Canada’s Physical Activity Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, an initiative of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada. Dr. Jones is the current Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity and serves on the Advisory Board to UBC-Okanagan’s new Research Centre for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, and is an active Board member with the BC-CSEP Health and Fitness Program. Dr. Jones and his wife reside in Vernon with their two young children. In his leisure time he enjoys skiing (both cross-country and alpine), trail running, and mountain biking, swimming and gardening.

Heather McKay

Professor Heather McKay, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, is in the Departments of Orthopaedics and Family Practice. She is an internationally-recognized leader in research that investigates the role of physical activity in childhood and older adult bone health and mobility. Her national recognition includes awards from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (Senior Scholar) and a YWCA Women of Distinction Award.

Professor McKay has published extensively in scientific journals related to the positive role of physical activity and other lifestyle factors on child and older adult health. Her talent for “moving research into action” – performing research that has impact – is illustrated by her lead role in the development and implementation of Action Schools! BC. This whole school physical activity and healthy eating model engages almost half a million children in BC. The outcomes of her school-based research influenced the development of new policy related to daily physical activity in schools.

Knowledge mobilization is a cornerstone and overarching theme of Professor McKay’s research.  Her efforts to mobilize knowledge so as to have impact in the community were acknowledged by a Knowledge Translation award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in 2008.

Professor McKay plays a critical leadership role in the overall operations of the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility and its research programs.

Research Interest/ Areas of Expertise:
•    The role of physical activity for health and mobility in children and in older adults
•    The role of the built environment in promoting or inhibiting the health and mobility of older adults
•    Bone health and prevention
•    Childhood obesity

Jack Oliver

Dr. Jack Oliver has practiced in the Okanagan as an orthopaedic surgeon since 1986, while serving as a consulting specialist with clinics in the Lower Mainland and beyond.  He is a diplomat of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine, as well as a staff member at the UBC Hospital Centre for Surgical Innovation, in the area of arthroplasty, and a clinical professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine's departments of Family Practice and Orthopaedics.

An active and sought-after sport medicine and orthopaedic expert, Jack's work has taken him from team doctor for the 1976 Canadian Olympic team in Montreal and the Salt Lake City team in 2002, to working with VANOC on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Along the way, he has been chief medical officer and/or team doctor at such iconic sport competitions as the Commonwealth Games, and for athletes whose sports range from swimming to soccer, skiing to football. 
Currently, he is a member of the Canadian freestyle ski team's medical group, a position he has held since 1979.

Joanie Sims-Gould

Dr. Joanie Sims-Gould is a Knowledge Translation Scientist at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility (CHHM) where she is in a leadership role focused on the application of the clinical, population-based and intervention research conducted at CHHM.  She works to ensure that projects have early and meaningful engagement of stakeholders and end users.  She does this by working closely with individuals (children, youth, older adults), families, organizations (i.e. South Vancouver Neighbourhood House, The United Way of the Lower Mainland, BC Children and Women’s Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, West End Seniors Network Society, etc.), health authorities (Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health), policy makers and municipal (City of Vancouver & City of Surrey) and provincial government officials (BC Ministry of Health) to ensure that the  research at CHHM reflects real needs (and questions) and that the findings are ‘brought back’ in a format that is usable.  Her work is rooted in a belief that research needs to be transparent and accessible, and must inform practice.  She is an applied health/health services researcher with strong links to the Vancouver and British Columbia practice communities.  She is a registered Social Worker.

With publications in health and health related journals/books and many presentations to local, national and international audiences Joanie has a strong track record as an applied health/health services researcher.  Her research is predominantly qualitative and broadly fits into three themes:
1. the experiences of individuals within the Canadian health care system -- including children, frail older adults, their families and those health care practitioners who work with them;
2. the delivery of home/community based health care;
3. the intersection between health and the built environment. 

Joanie has received fellowship and grant funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

Research Interest/ Areas of Expertise:

  • The intersection of family care and health care
  • The delivery of home health services (home care)
  • The role of the built environment in promoting or inhibiting the health and mobility of older adults
  • Knowledge translation and exchange
  • Qualitative and participatory research methodologies