Sandra C. Webber
Sandra C. Webber PhD; MSc (Rehab); B.M.R. (PT)
Associate Professor
Department of Physical Therapy

Sandra Webber was supported by an Institute of Aging Fellowship (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) during her PhD at the University of Manitoba. Upon completion of her PhD, she was an Assistant Professor in the School of Physical Therapy at the University of Saskatchewan from 2010-2012 before returning to her home province of Manitoba. She currently teaches in the Department of Physical Therapy and is a research affiliate in the Centre of Aging and the Health, Leisure & Human Performance Research Institute (both at the University of Manitoba). Sandra has received research funding from local, provincial and national granting agencies for her work that focuses broadly on ways to measure and improve mobility in older adults and people with chronic conditions. Sandra mentors graduate students in MSc (Rehabilitation Sciences) and PhD (Applied Health Sciences) programs.

Teaching in the MPT, MSc Rehab, Applied Health Sciences Programs

PT 6124 Physical Therapy and Hospital Based Care - Assist with labs/tutorials and clinical skills assessments

PT 6130 Applied Sciences 1 - Assist with labs/tutorials and clinical skills assessments

PT 6224 Clinical Skills for Physical Therapy in Neuromusculoskeletal Conditions 2 - Assist with labs/tutorials and clinical skills assessments

PT 6230 Applied Sciences for Physical Therapy 2 – Instructor for Electro-Physical Agents section

PT 6260 Physiotherapy Practice and Professional Issues 1 – Assist with labs/tutorials

PT 7124 Clinical Skills for Physical Therapy in Cardiorespiratory Conditions – Instructor

PT7500 Physical Therapy Evaluation/Research Project – Supervise students in research experiences

REHB 7280 Rehabilitation Theory and Research Design – Course coordinator and Instructor

AHS 7002/7004 Seminar I & II Applied Health Sciences - Instructor

Research Projects / Focus Areas

Accelerometry, Ambulation, Exercise, Health Promotion, Mobility, Older Adults, Osteoarthritis, Physical Activity, Physical Therapy, Resistance Training, Sedentary Behaviour, Strength, Walking

Objective Measurement of Activity Performance

Much of my research focusses on using technology (e.g., pedometers, accelerometers and global positioning system (GPS) devices) to objectively measure activity performance. This includes studying ambulation, general physical activity, sedentary behaviour and surrogate measures of bone loading in healthy individuals, older adults and people with chronic disease. Activity performance (what people do in their everyday lives) often differs from activity capacity (e.g., what people are capable of doing when evaluated under standardized conditions, e.g., in a clinical or research environment) and sometimes these differences provide important information about how people function and whether thresholds for healthy active living are being met.

Current Research Interests

  • Factors that influence community ambulation and social participation in older adults  and individuals with osteoarthritis or stroke
  • Measurement of community-based outdoor walking for older adults
  • Functional performance before and after total joint replacement
  • Determining validity of different activity monitors for use in older adults and people with chronic diseases
  • Exercises and everyday activities important for bone health
  • Using cadence as a measure of performance
  • Walking volume and walking patterns in older adults
  • Studying physical activity and mental health in students in healthcare professions

Teaching Fields

  • Exercise assessment and exercise prescription
  • Foundational physical therapy assessment and treatment techniques
  • Assessing mobility and balance in older adults
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Electrophysical agents
  • Rehabilitation research methodology and research methods

Recent Publications

  1. Salbach NM, Barclay R, Webber SC, Jones CA, Mayo NE, Lix, LM, Ripat J, Grant T, Grant T, van Ineveld C, Chilibeck PD. A theory-based, task-oriented, outdoor walking programme for older adults with difficulty walking outdoors: protocol for the Getting Older Adults Outdoors (GO-OUT) randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open 2019;9:e029393. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2019-029393.

    Protocol for a multi-centre study currently being conducted in Canada.
  2. Webber SC, Ripat JD, Pachu NS, Strachan SM. Exploring physical activity and sedentary behavior: perspectives of individuals with osteoarthritis and knee arthroplasty. Disability and Rehabilitation 2019; Epub ahead of print. 
    Results from our focus group evaluation exploring barriers and facilitators to physical activity and sedentary behaviour in people with osteoarthritis and people after total knee arthroplasty.
  3. Webber SC, St. John PD. Changes in intensity and duration of walking in older adults during in-patient geriatric rehabilitation and upon discharged home. Physiotherapy Canada 2018;70(4):341-348. 
    An evaluation of ambulation in geriatric rehabilitation as compared to ambulation in the first week at home upon discharge. Results suggest that walking patterns differ and we need to consider how best to facilitate longer, continuous bouts of walking once people are discharged from hospital.
  4. Barclay R, Webber SC, Ripat JD, Grant T, Jones CA, Lix LM, Mayo N, vanIneveld C, Salbach NM. Safety and feasibility of an interactive workshop and facilitated outdoor walking group compared to a workshop alone in increasing outdoor walking activity among older adults: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Pilot and Feasibility Studies 2018:4:179.
    Results of our pilot work that our current multi-site randomized controlled trial is based upon. 
  5. Webber SC, Strachan SM, Pachu NS. Sedentary behaviour, cadence and physical activity outcomes after knee arthroplasty. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2017;49(6):1057-1065.
    A comprehensive evaluation of physical activity in people on the waiting list for total knee arthroplasty as compared to individuals one-year post arthroplasty. This paper also presents the first objective and self-report sedentary behaviour data for these populations. 
  6. Webber SC, St. John PD. Comparison of ActiGraph GT3X+ and StepWatch step count accuracy in geriatric rehabilitation patients. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 2016; 24(3):451-458.
  7. Korpan S, Schafer J, Wilson K, Webber SC. Effect of ActiGraph GT3X+ position and algorithm choice on step count accuracy in older adults. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 2015;23(3):377-382.
  8. Webber SC, Horvey KJ, Yurak Pikaluk MT, Butcher SJ. Cardiovascular responses in older adults with total knee arthroplasty at rest and with exercise on a positive pressure treadmill. European Journal of Applied Physiology 2014;114(3):653-662.
  9. Webber SC, Magill SM, Schafer JL, Wilson KCS. GT3X+ accelerometer, Yamax pedometer and SC-StepMX pedometer step count accuracy in community-dwelling older adults. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 2014;22(3): 334-341.