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Healthy Aging Communication Network

Professional Resources

Professional Resources for Physical Activity


"It is Our Exercise Family": Experiences of Ethnic Older Adults in a Group-Based Exercise Program is an original manuscript detailing strategies for improving adherence to exercise programs for ethnically diverse communities. EnhanceFitness, an evidence-based community exercise program for older adults was used for the exercise intervention. EnhancedFitness will begin to be implemented in Arizona as part of a partnership between the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Arizona Department of Economic Security along with Area Agencies on Aging and county health departments or community clinics.

Physical Activity and Public Health in Older Adults and Physical Activity and Public Health are updated recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. The preventive recommendation specifies how adults, by engaging in regular physical activity, can promote and maintain health, and reduce risk for chronic disease and premature death.

The NCOA has an informative series of Issue Briefs on Best Practices in Physical Activity Programming for Older adults. Here are the issues:

Moving Ahead: Strategies and Tools to Plan, Conduct, and Maintain Effective Community-Based Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults highlights some of the best evidence-based programs in physical activity now available. The guide is the product of a February 2007 symposium in Seattle. 

NCOA's Best Practices in Physical Activity developed by the center for Research on Health and Aging at the University of Illinois in Chicago provides a overview of NCOA's evaluation of evidence-based programs.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's U.S. Physical Activity Statistics 


Physical Activity for Older Adults: Strength Training is an online tool with links to various resources related to strength training.

Reference Guide of Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults: A Resource for Planning Intervention provides information on 17 physical activity programs that could be used with older adults having healthy to frail functional status. All of the programs contain physical activity components that might achieve important benefits for all older adults with diabetes.

This guide is intended to be a tool that organizations can use to help choose the right physical activity program for older adults. To that end, this guide includes program elements such as demographic characteristics of the population that programs were designed to serve, program and participant costs, number and type of paid or volunteer staff required, any research conducted evaluating program efficacy or effectiveness, among others. Hard copies may also be ordered from the CDC.

How walkable is your neighborhood? A new website allows you to determine how walkable your neighborhood is. At www.walkscore.com, you can enter your address and the website will calculate a walk score based on the availability of and distance to shops, services, and restaurants in your area. The website draws attention to neighborhood characteristics that make a neighborhood "walkable" including having a center, mixed land use, parks and public space, all principles of Smart Growth.

Physical Activity for older Adults: Exercise for Life is a health promotion educational module for those providing physical activity programs for older adults.

Project Enhance provides programs for Enhance Fitness which 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 unfit or near frail. Enhance Wellness is a motivational intervention that encourages older adults to take on health challenges and maintain control over their lives.

Senior Fitness includes free fitness facts, tips, and handouts. Great resource for seniors wanting to stay active and provides info on staying mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy.

Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging provides tips on how to exercise safely, stay motivated, find expert help and even provides self-tests of fitness level. It can also be ordered online free of charge from the NIH along with other healthy aging resources.

The Arizona State Trails Program will provide technical assistance to agencies and organizations, and host trail conferences, trainings and educational events.

The National Blueprint: Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults Aged 50 and Older, a major national planning document in the area of aging and physical activity, has been developed to serve as a guide for multiple organizations, associations and agencies, to inform and support their planning work related to increasing physical activity among America's aging population.

For physical activity here is an interactive guide to getting started. Follow through the series of links for resources and answers to questions to help older adults become and stay active. Choose to Move is a tool from the American Heart Association that provides education and materials which assists healthcare professionals in educating women, including older women about the importance of being physical activity, good nutrition and healthy habits - and to keep them moving.