The frequency of trips outdoors is a strong indicator of older adults’ physical activity levels. This qualitative study compared and contrasted determinants of trips outdoors between rural- (n = 13) and urban-living (n = 15) people aged 65 and older living in England. Interview transcripts were analyzed through directed and summative content analysis employing the Ecological Model framework. Some personal-level determinants (age-related barriers) and environment-level factors (car dependence, bus services) were shared across samples. The main differences were seen in how a community-based social network instigated trips outdoors for rural participants while family ties mostly led to trips outdoors for urban-living participants. Urban participants used and valued recreational facilities, but rural participants did not report them as important in determining trips outdoors. Strategies to improve public transport and minimize age-related barriers may translate from urban to rural contexts. However, social and/or physical environment interventions could be more effective if they were rural-grounded, not urban-translated.
De Koning and Stathi are with the Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom. Fox is with the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.