Evaluation of a multi-component group exercise program for adults with arthritis: Fitness and Exercise for People with Arthritis (FEPA)

Susan S. Levy, Caroline A. MacEra, Jennifer M. Hootman, Karen J. Coleman, Ruby Lopezb, Jeanne F. Nichols, Simon J. Marshall, Barbara Ainsworth, Ming Ji

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Background: Research supports the favorable effects of exercise on physical and psychosocial outcomes in those with arthritis. Few easily disseminated, multi-component, arthritis-specific programs have been evaluated using both physical function and psychosocial measures. Fitness and Exercise for People with Arthritis (FEPA) is a new community-based, 3-month, instructor supervised multicomponent exercise program for individuals with arthritis designed to increase strength, flexibility, balance, and aerobic conditioning, while emphasizing joint-protection and proper biomechanics. Purpose: To conduct a preliminary evaluation of the effects of the FEPA program on physical function and arthritis-related outcomes in individuals with arthritis. Method: Middle-aged (n = 31, Mage = 54.8 6 7.2) and older (n = 79, M age = 76.0 ± 6.6) adults with arthritis completed the instructor led FEPA program in community senior centers, churches, and adult education settings. Changes in physical function, measured using the arm curl, back-scratch test, 8-foot up-and-go, and 6 min walk and self-reported arthritis-related pain, perceived physical function, affect, and self-efficacy for symptom management were assessed using RM ANOVA. Results: Significant improvements (ps < .05) in all physical function measures were found in the older group. In the middle-aged group, significant improvements ( ps < .05) were found in the 8-foot up-and-go and 6 min walk. Self-reported physical function, pain perceptions, and self-efficacy for pain management significantly improved (ps < .05) in middle-aged participants, while only selfreported pain perceptions significantly improved in the older group. Conclusions: FEPA shows promise for improving health-related outcomes in those with arthritis, and has potential for sustainability in community settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-311
Number of pages7
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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