Community fitness programs

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help residents access health services. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Provide fitness programs (for example, spinning, yoga, Zumba) in a community setting to boost physical activity and fitness, plus potentially improving mental health
  • Social support interventions and physical activity messages emphasizing the benefits of activity are tied to success
  • More effective in engaging women and seniors than other groups

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)


Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

Target population


Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Improved physical activity and fitness
  • Potential for improved mental health
  • Better cardiovascular health, especially for older adults

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Organized group fitness programs tend to be more appealing to women and older adults, whereas organized sports activities tend to attract more men and younger adults.
  • Offering classes in parks in low-income neighborhoods may increase awareness and promote participation.
  • Programs that use direct community input to provide culturally relevant programming may improve participants’ attendance and physical activity.
  • Direct, culturally competent outreach that reminds community members to exercise can help motivate individuals to adhere to more regular fitness programs.

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