Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program
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Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program


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Download the program summary
Visit the Arthritis Foundation website

Developed by: the Arthritis Foundation
Year Program First Implemented in Community Settings: 1987


Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP) is a community-based recreational exercise program that was originally developed by the Arthritis Foundation in 1987 and revised in 1999, 2005, and 2009. Class levels can be modified to accommodate the different capabilities of people with arthritis and related diseases.  The program’s multiple components help reduce pain and stiffness, and help maintain or improve mobility, muscle strength and functional availability. 

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program classes are conducted by trained and certified instructors in partnership with the local Arthritis Foundation chapter. The instructors are usually health or fitness professionals who have attended an 8-hour training workshop.  To accommodate different group needs, instructors select from 90 different exercises performed while participants are seated, standing or lying on the floor.  Activities also include endurance-building activities, balance exercises, relaxation techniques and health education segments. An advanced level contains more aerobic conditioning activities and use of resistance bands and weights. 


Buchner, D., & Wagner, E. (1992). Preventing frail health. Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, 8(1): 1-17.

Keenan, T., & Hawkins, M. (2004). Synthesis of AARP research in physical activity:  1999-2003, retrieved April 10, 2006 from AARP Web site:

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (2009)
Safe and Effective: Outcomes Summary



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