Exercise Programs That Promote Senior Fitness


Proven programs to keep older adults moving

Find proven programs in your community.


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Regular exercise can help older adults stay independent and prevent many health problems that come with age. NCOA helps community organizations offer fun and proven programs that keep seniors moving.

The CDC 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends two types of physical activity each week to improve health—aerobic and muscle-strengthening.

Experts recommend that older adults engage in:

  • Moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities for two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups.

Statistics show that less than one-third of Americans aged 65+ meet this recommendation. However, there are many proven programs that can help keep seniors active.

NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging connects community organizations to proven programs that empower older adults to engage in regular exercise. Explore these evidence-based physical activity programs, which have been proven to produce measurable health benefits for older adults.

Active Choices

Active Choices is a six-month physical activity program that helps individuals incorporate preferred physical activities in their daily lives. The program is individualized for each person. Staff or volunteers are trained to provide regular, brief telephone-based guidance and support, and mail follow-up is delivered to participants’ homes.

Active Living Every Day

Active Living Every Day (ALED) uses facilitated group-based problem-solving methods to integrate physical activity into everyday living. The program utilizes the ALED book and offers optional online support resources for participants and facilitators. ALED can be offered independently or with existing community-based physical activity programs.

EnhanceFitness

EnhanceFitness (formerly Lifetime Fitness Program) is a low-cost, highly adaptable exercise program offering levels that are challenging enough for active older adults and levels that are safe enough for the unfit or near frail. One-hour group classes include stretching, flexibility, balance, low-impact aerobics, and strength training.

Fit and Strong!

Fit and Strong! combines flexibility, strength training, and aerobic walking with health education for sustained behavior change among older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis. Fit and Strong! works with providers across the country to deliver an eight-week program that improves lower extremity stiffness, pain, and strength, aerobic capacity, participation in exercise and caloric expenditure, and self-efficacy for exercise.

Geri-Fit

Geri-Fit® is a progressive resistance strength training exercise program designed to increase strength, flexibility, range of motion, mobility, gait, and balance. Exercises are performed seated in chairs (optional standing) in a group setting class. Ongoing classes are held twice-weekly for 45 minutes.

Healthy Moves for Aging Well

Healthy Moves for Aging Well is a simple and safe in-home physical activity intervention developed and tested by Partners in Care to enhance the activity level of frail, high-risk sedentary seniors living at home. The model was developed for community-based care management programs arranging and delivering services to seniors in the home.

Walk with Ease

The Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease program helps participants develop a walking plan that meets their particular needs, stay motivated, manage pain, and exercise safely. The Walk with Ease materials are based on programs that have been successfully implemented in research settings and have resulted in such benefits as increase physical activity, increased walking distance and speed, decreased pain, and decreased depression.