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.
- 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
Evidence and impacts
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
- Improved physical activity and fitness
- Potential for improved mental health
- Better cardiovascular health, especially for older adults
Best practices in 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.
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps evidence overview of community fitness programs Kling et al, "The Effect of a Park-Based Physical Activity Program on Cardiovascular, Strength, and Mobility Outcomes Among a Sample of Racially/Ethnically Diverse Adults Aged 55 or Older," Preventing Chronic Disease Vol. 15, December 2018 Holland, Greenberg, and Tidwell, "Community-Based Health Coaching, Exercise, and Health Service Utilization," Journal of Aging and Health, December 2005 Foster et al, "Attitudes Surrounding a Community-Based Fitness Intervention at an Urban FQHC," Family Medicine, 2019 Latimer, Brawley, and Bassett, "A systematic review of three approaches for constructing physical activity messages: What messages work and what improvements are needed?" International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2010