Use of an Integrated Research-Practice Partnership to Improve Outcomes of a Community-Based Strength-Training Program for Older Adults: Reach and Effect of Lifelong Improvements through Fitness Together (LIFT)
Wilson, Meghan L.
Strayer, Thomas E.
Harden, Samantha M.
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Only 17% of older adults meet the recommendations for two days of full body strength training that is associated with improved functional fitness; reduced risk of falls; and reduced morbidity and mortality rates. Community-based interventions are recommended as they provide supportive infrastructure to reach older adults and impact strength training behaviors. Scalability and sustainability of these interventions is directly linked with setting-level buy-in. Adapting an intervention through an integrated research–practice partnership may improve individual and setting-level outcomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the initial reach and effect of a locally adapted, health educator-led strength-training intervention; Lifelong Improvements through Fitness Together (LIFT). LIFT was compared to an evidence-based exercise program, Stay Strong; Stay Healthy (SSSH). Intervention dose and mode were the same for LIFT and SSSH, but LIFT included behavioral change strategies. Older adult functional fitness was assessed before and after the 8-week strength training intervention. Health educators who delivered LIFT and SSSH were able to reach 80 and 33 participants, respectively. Participants in LIFT were able to significantly improve in all functional fitness measures whereas SSSH participants were only able to significantly improve in 5 of the 7 functional fitness measures. In conclusion, this study provides preliminary evidence that the locally adapted program reached more individuals and had improvements in functional fitness.