Evidence-Based Program: Enhance®Fitness

Enhance®Fitness (EF) is an ongoing, low-cost, evidence-based group exercise and fall prevention program developed specifically for older adults. Each class session focuses on four key areas important to the well-being and function of participants: low impact cardiovascular exercise; dynamic/static balance work; strength training with weights; and stretching. Classes meet three times a week, an hour each session, providing social stimulation as well as physical benefits. EF is also designated as an arthritis appropriate evidence based intervention (AAEBI) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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: Older adults and those aging with disability, from the frail to the fit. The class can be taken seated or standing, and instructors are trained in how to modify the exercises to suit the varying abilities of participants.
  • Health outcomes:
    • Strength and Physical Function: Participants showed 35% improvement in upper and lower body muscle strength and function, as measured by 3 standard physical function tests: arm curl, timed up and go, and chair stand
    • Depression and Social Function: Participants showed 52% decrease in depression symptoms and 13% increased social function, as measured by Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF36)
    • Fall Prevention: Enhance®Fitness participation was associated with a 26% reduced risk of falls resulting in medical care as determined in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) retrospective cohort study.
    • Healthcare Cost Reduction: Enhance®Fitness participation was associated with an estimated total medical cost savings of $945 as determined in a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) retrospective study.
  • Delivered by: Fitness instructor
  • Program type: Group
  • Format: In-person in community settings (interactive virtual delivery adaptation is being piloted, Summer 2020)
  • Length: Fitness assessments are performed at baseline and 16 weeks, and regular intervals thereafter, providing units of measurement for this ongoing program.
  • Training: In-person and virtual modes available
  • Professional required: Yes. Project Enhance strongly recommends that certified fitness professionals or individuals with commensurate knowledge of body function conduct class.
  • Accessibility adaptations available: Yes
  • Cultural adaptations available: Yes
  • Available in languages other than English:
    • Classes have been led in American Sign Language, Belarusian, Bhutanese, Chinese, English, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Lao, Mien, Norwegian, Russian, Samoan, Somali, Spanish, Tongan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
  • Topic(s):
    • Physical Activity
    • Fall Prevention

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