Learn more about this group-based exercise program for older adults managing arthritis.
Fit & Strong! is a top-tier evidence-based group exercise program designed for persons with osteoarthritis (OA). Arthritis is the most common cause of disability among older adults and a major barrier to their participation in physical activity. One third of adults with arthritis have depression or anxiety and 40% take opioids to manage their pain. Fit & Strong! combines tailored flexibility, low-impact aerobic and strength exercises with self-management and group discussion geared toward maintenance of behavior change. Outcomes include improved joint pain, stiffness, and function; lower-extremity strength; mobility; mood; and self-confidence to manage OA with physical activity. Benefits have been demonstrated at 8 weeks (end of program) and maintained out to 18 months. Fit & Strong! has been recommended as an arthritis-appropriate evidence-based intervention (AAEBI) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), endorsed as a research-tested intervention program by the National Cancer Institute (NIH), and recommended by the American Physical Therapy Association. Fit & Strong! is popular with participants, cost-effective, produces durable results, activates long-term behavior change, and is fun!
Additional topics include mobility and overcoming barriers to regular physical activity engagement.
Note: Track health promotion program guidance during COVID-19 regularly for updates to program implementation and training options. Programs traditionally implemented in-person may be temporarily allowable by telephone or online.
- Target audience: Sedentary older adults who are experiencing lower extremity joint pain, stiffness, or other mobility challenges
- Health outcomes:
- Improved lower extremity strength
- Improved mobility
- Improved lower extremity pain and function
- Improved anxiety and depression
- Delivered by: Trained lay leader/facilitator, certified fitness instructor
- Program type: Group
- Format: In-person in community
- Length: Twenty-four (24) class sessions delivered either two or three times per week. Each class session is 90 minutes
- Training: Online, in-person
- Professional required: No, not applicable
- Accessibility adaptations available: Fit & Strong! @Home – online/remote adaptation and low vision adaptation
- Cultural adaptations available: En Forma y Fuerte – Hispanic version and Forte, em forma e saudável – Portuguese version
- Available in languages other than English: Spanish and Portuguese
- Physical Activity
- Behavioral Health
- Chronic Disease Management
- Falls Prevention
- Pain Management
- Additional Resources:
- Contact: Andrew Demott