Evidence-based Programs

Adults with arthritis or aging adults may have special considerations when beginning a habit of physical activity. The programs listed have been developed specifically with older adults in mind, and are based on sound research.  Whether you are an individual or someone looking to start a group exercise program in your community, we think you’ll find a suitable program among the options below.

If none of these programs seem to be a good fit, or aren’t available in your community, look for an exercise class offered specifically for older adults.  These classes will usually be led by someone with training who can answer questions and may be able to suggest a different way of doing an exercise if an exercise causes you pain.

Walk with Ease Arthritis Foundation (AF)
Walk with Ease is a structured 6-week arthritis walking program.  Because it is relatively low cost, and can be self-guided or community-guided, Walk with Ease is a popular program among people with arthritis. Interested in the being trained to lead the community-guided format in your community? Click here to find a course

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP) Arthritis Foundation (AF)
AFEP is an exercise program created by the Arthritis Foundation specifically for persons with arthritis. The AF no longer directly offers this program, but one may still be running in your community and leader training is still available through the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA). Interested in becoming an AFEP leader for your community?  Access the training here

Active Living Everyday Cooper Institute
Instead of teaching exercises only, this course teaches ways to integrate physical activity into every day life. Interested in providing ALE courses to your community?  Find out more here

Fit and Strong University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Health Research and Policy
This program is tailor-made for people with lower extremity osteoarthritis, and combines flexibility, strength, aerobic exercise with health education. Check this link for a location near you, or just ask if your local senior center offers this class.  Interested in offering Fit & Strong for your community? Find out more here

Strong for Life Boston University Health and Disability Research Institute
This program is intended for older adults specifically interested in muscle strengthening.  Terra Nova films now offers the training resources. Interested in becoming a Strong for Life leader?  Access a self-guided training (fee associated) here

EnhanceFitness Program Senior Services/University of Washington
Enhance Fitness is an exercise program for older adults, offered in groups.  Search here for a program in your state. Interested in offering Enhance Fitness in your community? Find out more here

Growing Stronger Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Available free and completely online, this strengthening program can be done individually or in a group

Arthritis Self-Management Program Stanford Patient Education Research Center
Exercise is just one element covered in this arthritis-specific program.  Other arthritis-specific topics include managing fatigue, healthy eating, problem-solving, and more.  For a list of licensed trainers in your state, click hereInterested in becoming a trained leader for this program? click here