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Physical Activity Programs

The physical activity programs listed below are all approved evidence-based programs that are proven to improve the quality of life of people with arthritis. Scientific studies have shown that physical activity can reduce pain, improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with arthritis. Physical activity also can help manage other chronic conditions that are common among adults with arthritis, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity and prolong life. A physical activity fact sheet and information detailing the importance of physical activity for people with arthritis are available.

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP)

AFEP (formerly People with Arthritis Can exercise or PACE) is a community-based recreational exercise program developed by the Arthritis Foundation. Trained AFEP instructors cover a variety of range-of-motion and endurance-building activities, relaxation techniques, and health education topics. All of the exercises can be modified to meet participant needs. The program's demonstrated benefits include improved functional ability, decreased depression, and increased confidence in one's ability to exercise. Classes typically meet two or three times per week. To find out about availability in your area you can check with the Arthritis Foundation or view this map to locate your state arthritis program. More information about the program is available.

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Active Living Everyday (ALED)

ALED is a group-based program developed at the Cooper Institute focused on helping sedentary people become and stay physically active. Participants, about 20 people in a group, come together for one hour weekly sessions for 20 weeks of classroom instruction to learn behavioral skills (identifying and overcoming barriers, setting goals, and creating an action plan) needed to become more physically active. A variety of moderate and vigorous physical activities are discussed in the program, giving the background for individuals to make their personal decisions about type, form, frequency, intensity, and dose. Participants do their actual activity outside of the group setting. Facilitators (instructors) that teach the course are trained and certified. A participant book is used in conjunction with the course is available at: http://www.activeliving.info/.

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Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program (AFAP)

AFAP is a water exercise program created by the Arthritis Foundation for people with arthritis and related conditions. The classes are conducted by a trained instructor and are designed to improve flexibility, joint range of motion, endurance, strength, and daily function to decrease pain. The aquatics classes include joint range of motion, stretching, breathing, and light aerobic activities. The classes typically meet two or three times per week for one hour. To find out about availability in your area you can check with the Arthritis Foundation or view this map to locate your state arthritis program. More information about the program is available.

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EnhanceFitness (EF)

EnhanceFitness (formerly Lifetime Fitness) is an evidence-based, community-delivered exercise program proven to increase strength, boost activity levels, and elevate mood. Certified EF instructors offer a program that focuses on stretching, flexibility, balance, low impact aerobics, and strength training exercises. Typically classes meet three times a week for one hour. To find out about availability in your area you can check with your state arthritis program. Use this map to locate your state arthritis program. More information about the program is available. Watch a video on EnhanceFitness.

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Fit and Strong

Fit and Strong is a community-based physical activity and behavior change intervention offering stretching, balance, aerobic, and endurance exercises. Health education, problem solving and goal setting also are important components of Fit and Strong. The program was designed to target sedentary older adults who are experiencing lower-extremity joint pain and stiffness. Fit and Strong classes are 90 minutes 3 times per week for 8 weeks and are delivered by a certified exercise instructor. Find out more information about the program.

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Walk With Ease (WWE) (Group Led)

Walk with Ease is a community-based, group walking program offered by the Arthritis Foundation. The Walk With Ease (WWE) arthritis self-management program was developed by the Arthritis Foundation to be used in a community setting with individuals who may be either self or medically diagnosed with arthritis. Participants met three times a week at regional sites in groups of up to 30 participants under the direct supervision of a walking leader trained according to guidelines of the Arthritis Foundation. Each meeting begins with a pre-walk discussion covering a specified topic related to exercise and arthritis, followed by a 10- to 40-minute walk that includes a warm-up and cool-down as described in the Walk With Ease leader’s guide. More information is available about this program.

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