The outdoor mobility and leisure activities of older people in five European countries

Cristina Gagliardi, Liana Spazzafumo, Fiorella Marcellini, Heidrun Mollemkopf, Isto Ruoppila, Mart Tacken, Zsuzsa Szémann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many gerontological studies have dealt with the leisure activities of older people and they have generated many important theories. Although outdoor activities and mobility promote good health in old age, both decrease with increasing age as people lose physical and mental functions. This paper examines the outdoor and indoor leisure activities of 3,950 older adults and their variations by personal and environmental characteristics in Germany, Finland, Hungary, The Netherlands and Italy. The main dimensions of activity were established by factor analysis, and in all countries four factors were found: home activities, hobbies, social activities, and sports activities. Both similar and distinctive pursuits characterised each dimension among the five countries. 'Home activities' mainly comprised indoor activities, but the other three dimensions involved more physical mobility. The scores of various socio-environmental characteristics on the factors enabled the attributes of the participants to be profiled. Sports activities and hobbies were performed more often by younger men, by those with good physical functioning and by those who drove cars. Social activities were performed more by women and those who used public transport. Home activities were more frequently performed by those with low physical function and women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-700
Number of pages18
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


  • Cross-country comparison
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure activities
  • Older people
  • Outdoor mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Ageing
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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