There is virtually no end to the number of good program ideas that professionals come up with. When faced with a challenge, professionals put on their creative thinking caps and develop workable solutions. Kudos to them for not giving up, but are good ideas enough? Shouldn’t we look beyond “good” and focus instead on programs that are effective? This is where evidence-based programming comes in.
Evidence-based programs have been:
- developed and researched in controlled settings,
- shown to have positive impacts on participants,
- published in a peer-review journal, and
- translated so they can be adopted by community organizations serving wide varieties of populations.
Below are some popular evidence-based programs that are available for use. They focus on varying outcomes and populations and require differing degrees of resources. If you aren’t using evidence-based programs in your facility or organization, then this list will give you some ideas to explore.
Active Living Every Day
Active Living Every Day is designed to promote the adoption and maintenance of physical activity in adults. It is based on groundbreaking research conducted at The Cooper Institute that has resulted in two important discoveries about physical activity and health:
- Physical activity need not be strenuous or time-consuming to benefit health. Accumulating 30 minutes of at least moderate-intensity activity (e.g., a brisk walk) on most days of the week can result in significant health benefits.
- People are more likely to become and stay physically active when taught appropriate lifestyle skills. These skills include identifying and overcoming barriers to physical activity, learning to incorporate physical activity into a busy schedule, increasing self-confidence, building social support, setting realistic goals, and staying motivated.
Active Living Every Day’s emphasis on moderate-intensity activity, fitting activity into life in realistic ways, and personalizing physical activity programs makes it appealing to just about anyone who wants to become more active. The Cooper Institute developed ALED in partnership with Human Kinetics (www.humankinetics.com), the publishers of this journal. Program materials include a 20-session participant workbook and interactive online guide, facilitator’s guide, and extensive Web-based training and support for facilitators.
For more information: http://www.activeliving.info
Better Bones & Balance Program
The Better Bones & Balance Program (BBB) is based on research from Oregon State University’s Bone Research Laboratory. Study participants who performed balance and strength exercises using weighted vests reduced their rate of hip bone loss and reduced their risk of falls. All of the study participants were post-menopausal women.
The BBB classes are designed to gradually improve balance and strength to avoid falls and maintain independence. “Better bones are a bonus,” says Assistant Professor Kathy Gunter, PhD, who is directing a new study to examine long-time participation in the program. “Most fractures occur from a fall. If you avoid the fall, chances are you won’t experience a fracture. Because this program targets strength and balance, it has an immediate impact on reducing the risk for falls. The benefits to bone observed among long-term participants are icing on the cake.”
The Better Bones & Balance Instructor Training Workshops are possible through a collaboration of researchers from Oregon State University’s Bone Research Laboratory and faculty from Linn Benton Community College. A team of scientists, administrators, and fitness professionals share the latest research about bone health and provide information about exercise programming and marketing to help attendees begin teaching or developing Better Bones and Balance programs in their communities.
For more information: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/physicalactivity/bbb
CHAMPS (Community Healthy Activities Model Program For Seniors) is a public health model program to promote increased lifetime physical activity levels of seniors. Substantial scientific evidence supports increased physical activity as a promising approach to improve the health and well-being of seniors. Accordingly, CHAMPS promotes and facilitates physically active lifestyles for seniors. It encourages participants to develop physical activity regimens based on their readiness, preferences, health, and abilities. Because of this individually tailored support, it is appropriate for people with a range of health levels on the premise that there is some beneficial type of physical activity for everyone.