Physical Activity Implementation Guide
Boosting physical activity among adults with arthritis

Community and Public Health

Strategies and Tools

Strategy 1

Work with your community to be sure there is at least one arthritis appropriate physical activity intervention available.

Six physical activity programs have been proven to enhance the symptoms, function, and quality of life of adults with arthritis. In addition, CDC has developed a guidance document to help select the appropriate interventions for your situation. These interventions can also be beneficial for people with other chronic conditions and might be leveraged to address multiple chronic conditions with one effort or programmatic push.


Arthritis Appropriate Physical Activity and Self-Management Education Interventions, A Compendium of Implementation Information

Six physical activity programs

Active Living Everyday  

Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program  

Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease Program (group led)  


Fit and Strong!   

Strategies to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases: The CDC Guide to Strategies to Increase Physical Activity in the Community

AF Community Programs for Better Living

CDC Community Transformation Grants

To learn more:

Additional Information on Physical Activity Programs for Individuals with Arthritis


Monthly Activity Guides from the Milwaukee County Department on Aging's five senior centers, listing many of the activities taking place including a regular fitness program in partnership with seniors’ physicians and a Walk with Ease Program and gardening activities outside of the senior centers during the warm months

Resource Guide on how to stay connected in Milwaukee County with ongoing activities, times and transportation so people have information on when and how to get to various senior center location

Strategy 2

Establish community partnerships to expand physical activity opportunities (e.g., in senior centers, the Y, churches and synagogues, and other appropriate facilities). 

Lack of availability of appropriate and effective programs can be a barrier to increasing physical activity among adults with arthritis. However, making a variety of physical activities accessible and convenient, in as many places throughout the community as possible, can reduce a major barrier prohibiting adults with arthritis from engaging in regular, routine exercise.  In addition to the tools expanding dissemination and delivery of public health activities below, additional ideas can be found in the Partnership section.


The Community Healthy Living Index helps communities to assess opportunities for active living and healthy eating and to mobilize all sectors of society to conquer obesity and chronic disease. Its Neighborhood and Community-at-Large assessments address policies and built environment factors that influence community design in support of physical activity.

Tips for using well-positioned national nonprofit networks like the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and National Council of La Raza to scale promising and proven programs, Measuring to Scale What Works at the YMCA

Strategy 3

Incorporate strategies to reduce arthritis-specific barriers to physical activity in all programmatic and policy initiatives, including those for adults with obesity, disabilities, heart disease, and diabetes.

In recent years, there has been movement towards coordination, integration, and consolidation of public health funding and programs. State and local health department plans have reflected this trend, with increasing attention to ways that physical activity for adults with arthritis can help serve the larger chronic disease population. Many of the physical activity strategies appropriate for adults with arthritis also benefit those with other chronic conditions. These include walking, swimming and riding a bike.


Communities Putting Prevention to Work: Chronic Disease Self-Management Program

Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) are one stop shops for information, opportunities, and referrals to address needs of older adults and people with disabilities. They are great resource for knowing exactly who is offering what service in your community, and where and how it can be obtained.

Self-management programs provide older adults with education and tools they need to help them cope with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or arthritis. The programs help participants manage stress, discuss the benefits of physical activity and good nutrition, and help participants communicate more effectively with health care providers. Participants develop action plans related to these topics through structured planning and feedback exercises. Since older adults disproportionately experience chronic diseases, the U.S. Administration on Aging supports the dissemination of self-management programs for chronic diseases by awarding grants to states. State governments then use these funds to develop an infrastructure (workforce, sites, enrollment system) to deliver these programs in communities around the country.


Shared Agenda for the Virginia Chronic Disease Prevention Collaborative Network

Strategy 4

Create joint-use agreements with schools, shopping malls, and other community buildings to host physical activity opportunities when not in use for other purposes.

Joint use is a method to increase opportunities for children and adults to be more physically active. In joint use agreements, two or more entities—often a school and a city or private organization—share indoor and outdoor spaces like gymnasiums, athletic fields, and playgrounds. The sharing of resources keeps costs down while boosting the health and connectedness of the community’s residents. Evidence-based physical activities should be promoted in these agreements to the extent possible.


Making Effective Use of Existing Resources for Healthier Communities: Joint Use Dialogue Guide

Joint use suggestions from ChangeLabSolutions

NRPA’s Parks Build Healthy Communities: Success Stories

NRPA’s Issue Brief on Creating Safe Park Environments to Enhance Community Wellness

Convergence Partnership’s efforts to strengthen the built environment through transportation and joint use


The statewide Joint Use Task Force (JUST) in California, established in May 2008, includes organizations representing health, civil rights, community collaboratives, planners, local elected and appointed officials, park and recreation officials, school board administrators, academic researchers, and a growing list of groups interested in ensuring that all children and adults have a safe place to be active within easy reach. 

Nebo Content Management System Tracking