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UFV seeking hikers aged 55 to 75 for new study out of Chilliwack

Participants and peer leaders both wanted for 12-week kinesiology research program
A participant makes her way up Vedder Mountain in Chilliwack in 2019, in a hiking study led by the kinesiology department at the University of the Fraser Valley. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)

The University of the Fraser Valley is launching another hiking study, and this time they are looking for both peer leaders and participants.

They are targeting an age range of 55 to 75, as older adults have lower levels of physical activity than the general population.

Dr. Iris Lesser, an assistant kinesiology professor at UFV, is collaborating with Dr. Cynthia Thomson and Dr. Amanda Wurz for this once-a-week, 12-week study.

Lesser said that the lower levels of activity in older adults make it necessary to find new and innovative ways to get the population more active.

“Specific to older adults, there are numerous additional deterrents for physical activity engagement including physical limitations, not wanting to exercise alone and not belonging to a group,” Lesser said.

Hiking is a popular activity, especially in Chilliwack, and UFV’s kinesiology students and professors have conducted prior research with different groups over the past years.

“In our previous research we have found group-based hiking to be enjoyable, improve physical fitness and to be feasible for both inactive and active older adults,” she said. “Peer-led walking programs have been shown to be successful in the older adult population but this model has not been applied using hiking as the intervention.”

They will be using data from the study too look at the feasibility and acceptability of a once a week, 12-week, peer-led hiking study in older adults, looking at the benefits to physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and psycho-social outcomes.

The peer leaders will wear a GPS device to provide data about the hiking program. Participants will be further followed up with three months after the end of the intervention and three months after that to see whether engagement and benefits were maintained.

The time commitment for participants is 13.5 hours, and 15.5 hours for peer leaders.

For more information on how to get involved, email Shawn Arora at

READ MORE: UFV Chilliwack prof looking for new moms for exercise study

Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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