Fit and Strong! An award-winning, evidence-based program for older adults with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the oldest and most common types of arthritis.  When cartilage breaks down in the joints, it causes bones to rub against each other, resulting in serious pain and a severe loss of movement for the patient.  The biological cause of the condition is unknown, but the incidence of osteoarthritis increases with age.  Osteoarthritis is estimated to affect over 20 million Americans, with most of those sufferers over the age of 45.  Women are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis after reaching the age of 50.  Currently, there is no prevention of osteoarthritis or a method for slowing its progression, though some changes in lifestyle may reduce or delay symptoms. Treatment regiments often focus on decreasing pain and improving joint movement in the patient.


Fit and Strong! is an award-winning, evidence-based physical activity/behavior change intervention that has been successfully implemented in multiple community-based settings.  Fit and Strong! was developed by the Center for Research on Health and Aging at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been adopted by over 42 community providers to date.  Fit and Strong! blends a multiple component exercise program - including stretching, aerobic, and strengthening exercise - with group problem solving/education using a curriculum designed to facilitate arthritis symptom management, confidence in ability to exercise safely with arthritis, and commitment to lifestyle change. The program meets for 90 minutes 3 times a week for 8 weeks.



  • Evidence-based program for treatment of osteoarthritis without medication or surgery
  • Can be easily implemented into:
    • Healthcare and hospital systems
    • Senior citizen centers
    • Parks & recreational facilities
    • Independent living facilities
    • Private gyms and fitness centers


  • Increased quality of life for elderly osteoarthritic patients
  • Increased ability and confidence to exercise safely
  • Significant improvement in lower extremity stiffness
  • Positive effects may be maintained for 12 months or more

Inventor Name

Dr. Susan L. Hughes

Inventor Website

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