The hour-to-hour influence of weather conditions on walking and cycling among Dutch older adults

Age Ageing. 2015 Sep;44(5):886-90. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afv103. Epub 2015 Aug 10.


Background: physical activity (PA) is an important factor to promote healthy ageing. However, older adults are not physically active enough. Socio-ecological models suggest that weather conditions are determinants of PA and may bias relations between other environmental factors and PA. This may especially be the case for the most vulnerable and inactive older persons. Understanding the role of weather conditions is based on daily or seasonal variation in weather, but it can be improved by using hour-to-hour measured weather conditions.

Purpose: to study the hour-to-hour relationships between weather factors and objectively measured walking and cycling in a sample of Dutch older adults.

Methods: baseline data (2013) of a sub-sample of older adults (3,248 observations clustered in 43 adults) participating in The Neighborhood Walking in Rotterdam Older ADultS (NEW.ROADS) trial were used. Participants wore a GPS logger for 7 consecutive days. Hour-to-hour weather data (temperature, wind speed, rain and sun time) for the city of Rotterdam were retrieved from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Multilevel linear regression models were fitted with minutes walked and minutes cycled as dependent variables and the weather variables as independent variables.

Results: the time older adults walked increased with higher temperature, higher wind speed and the absence of rain. The time cycled increased with higher temperature.

Conclusions: this study improves the evidence of weather factors as a determinant for walking and cycling in older adults. Studies on the relation between environmental factors and PA should consider adjustment for weather factors.

Keywords: cycling; older adults; older people; walking; weather.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy / instrumentation
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Bicycling / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Netherlands
  • Rain
  • Sunlight
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
  • Walking / psychology*
  • Weather*
  • Wind