Part of the SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions Toolkit.*
The Young at Heart Strength Training – A Fall Prevention Program (YAH) is a direct education intervention designed to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors in older adults age >60 and/or in persons with disabilities. YAH classes meet for 1 hour, 2-3 times per week with at least one day of rest between classes for adequate recovery. There is a minimum of 32 sessions but can be ongoing without an end date. To maintain fidelity, all instructors are certified through an 8-hour training and must complete 4 hours of continuing education provided by Healthy Aging Association through the instructor meetings, which can be viewed via the internet. YAH classes are offered free of charge to all attendees. Classes are progressive and always consist of a warm-up, a movement phase with stretching and balance activities, followed by a cool-down.
YAH includes 32 one-hour sessions taught by a trained instructor that involve a dynamic warm-up, strength building exercises, stretches, 4 balance activities, and a cool-down. These intervention components provide the participants ways to increase range of motion, improve balance, strength and reduce falls. The program consists of a minimum of 10 core strength building exercises followed by a stretch and a maximum of 20 strength building exercises depending on the progression level of the class. The 8-10-minute warm-up, 10 core exercises, 4 balance activities, and the 5-8 minute cool-down must be completed in every class. There are a total of 5 different routines for the instructor to choose. The 10 core exercises are done in every single class, the additional exercises 11-20 vary per routine. It takes 2 months to set up the class, coordinate with the sites, train the instructors, and promote the class. We encourage participants to pre-register or sign-up to ensure the class has at least 8 participants prior to starting.
All exercises can be done sitting or standing and utilize resistance bands for most of the exercises. Exercises can be modified to accommodate most levels of function and include instruction from the instructors on how to exercise safely and effectively. Activities are medically, geographically, culturally, and linguistically appropriate for the community’s older adult population.
Community dwelling older adults who participated in the YAH fitness program for one year had better confidence in their balance (p=.012), better functional balance performance (p=.039), and a lower number of falls (p=.004) in a year as compared to their age and sex matched, non-exercising, counterparts. This suggests that exercise alone had a positive effect on the reduction of the risk and number of falls in older adults.
- Comparing Fall Risk of Older Adults in a Community-Based Fitness Program to Non-Participants
YAH evaluation materials include:
- Tinetti Fall Efficacy Scale (TFES): Used for all participants during session one of the programs and then again after session 32.
- Participant “spotlight” form: Participants write down physical and mental improvements and how the program has made an impact on their life.
- Rapid Assessment of Physical Activity (RAPA) tool.
To order, email the Healthy Aging Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The price is $1,500.00 for certification and accompanying materials. It costs $170.00 annually to renew. Discounts are offered if an organization sends more than one person to be trained. Additional fees for certification vary. The training is in Modesto, CA. lodging, food, and travel are not included.
*SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions: An Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States is a compilation of interventions. The toolkit was developed by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, The Association of SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT), and the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the USDA. It is designed and updated to help state SNAP-Ed administrative and implementing agencies identify evidence-based obesity prevention programs and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies and interventions to include in their SNAP-Ed plans.