A1 Journal article (refereed)
Use of walking modifications, perceived walking difficulty and changes in outdoor mobility among community-dwelling older people during COVID-19 restrictions (2021)

Leppä, H., Karavirta, L., Rantalainen, T., Rantakokko, M., Siltanen, S., Portegijs, E., & Rantanen, T. (2021). Use of walking modifications, perceived walking difficulty and changes in outdoor mobility among community-dwelling older people during COVID-19 restrictions. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 33(10), 2909-2916. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-021-01956-2

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsLeppä, Heidi; Karavirta, Laura; Rantalainen, Timo; Rantakokko, Merja; Siltanen, Sini; Portegijs, Erja; Rantanen, Taina

Journal or seriesAging Clinical and Experimental Research



Publication year2021

Publication date20/08/2021


Issue number10

Pages range2909-2916

PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication countryGermany

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77474


Outdoor mobility enables participation in essential out-of-home activities in old age.

To compare changes in different aspects of outdoor mobility during COVID-19 restrictions versus two years before according to self-reported walking.

Community-dwelling participants of AGNES study (2017–2018, initial age 75–85) responded to AGNES-COVID-19 postal survey in spring 2020 (N = 809). Life-space mobility, autonomy in participation outdoors, and self-reported physical activity were assessed at both time points and differences according to self-reported walking modifications and difficulty vs. intact walking at baseline were analyzed.

Life-space mobility and autonomy in participation outdoors had declined (mean changes -11.4, SD 21.3; and 6.7, SD 5.3, respectively), whereas physical activity had increased (5.5 min/day, SD 25.1) at follow-up. Participants perceiving walking difficulty reported the poorest baseline outdoor mobility, a steeper decline in life-space mobility (p = 0.001), a smaller increase in physical activity (p < 0.001), and a smaller decline in autonomy in participation outdoors (p = 0.017) than those with intact walking. Those with walking modifications also reported lower baseline life-space mobility and physical activity, a steeper decline in life-space mobility and a smaller increase in physical activity those with intact walking (p < 0.001 for both).

Participants reporting walking modifications remained the intermediate group in outdoor mobility over time, whereas those with walking difficulty showed the steepest decline in outdoor mobility and hence potential risk for accelerated further functional decline.

Interventions should target older people perceiving walking difficulty, as they may be at the risk for becoming homebound when environmental facilitators for outdoor mobility are removed.

Keywordsphysical activityphysical trainingwalking (motion)older peopleageingold ageelderlyparticipationactivity (properties)independent initiativesocial isolationCOVID-19restrictions

Free keywordsaging; compensation; mobility; participation; social isolation; SARS-CoV-2

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 11:50