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Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program
NOTE – the Arthritis Foundation no longer directly offers the Exercise Training Program (AFEP). If you are interested in training a member of your community in arthritis-specific strength exercises, the training is still available through the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) website here
ENACT has worked with the Massachusetts Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, Massachusetts Chapter to deliver the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Training Program (AFEP), a workshop that specializes in training laypersons and health practitioners to lead exercise sessions for people with arthritis. Completion and implementation of this program is a big step in helping those with arthritis regain lost mobility.
The AFEP includes instructions about how to adapt exercises for people with arthritis. Trainees, who typically have either an exercise or physical therapy background, also develop a lesson plan for an arthritis exercise class. After completing the course, participants are certified as instructors to lead exercise classes for the Arthritis Foundation.
Trainees from this program make a commitment to organizing exercise program for people with arthritis. Laura Furey, BU physical therapy doctoral student, stated, “I will be using the training as part of my Physical Therapy Practicum Project, which is to promote exercise initiation among individuals with osteoarthritis.” Another BU physical therapy doctoral student, Stefanie Howlett, is “really excited to implement this program” and is “particularly interested in exercise adherence among people with arthritis.”
The Arthritis Foundation’s eight week exercise programs can have a huge and positive impact on patients with arthritis. Instructor Wendy Moore describes these programs as an “eye opener to see how simple activity can change the ability of participants.” The exercise programs are designed with gentle movements that help increase joint flexibility, range of motion, and muscle strength. Benefits from these programs include increased functional ability and self-care as well as decreased pain and depression. According to Moore, “participants who complete eight weeks of classes are better able to do the things they want with less pain.”
As part of the commitment to the AF Exercise Training Program, ENACT supported the training of 6 lay leaders in and around Boston.