Improve Physical and Mental Health through EnhanceFitness

Lutisher Edmondson says EnhanceFitness makes her stronger and enables her to keep doing the things she loves.

In 1993, the Northshore Senior Center—located in Bothell—launched EnhanceFitness, a fitness program for older adults designed by the University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center in collaboration with Senior Services and Group Health. Now, 19 years later, EnhanceFitness is an award-winning, evidence-based health promotion program for older adults offered at over 500 locations around the country, including more than 50 sites in King County.

What does evidence-based mean? EnhanceFitness is a program that has undergone scientific evaluation and is proven to be effective, with measurable results. Data is collected at the start of each program and again in four months. Participants track their improvements in upper and lower body strength, stamina, and balance, and gain inspiration from their own success.

Studies show that participants realize positive results in several key areas—and not just physical fitness:

  • 13% improvement in social function
  • 52% improvement of depression
  • 35% improvement in physical functioning
  • Significant reduction in rehospitalizations and HMO utilization—overall increased health!

Classes are one hour long. Each class is like four classes in one—strength-training, flexibility, balance, and aerobic/cardio. Soft ankle and wrist weights are used. Perhaps best, participants say they have a lot of fun!

Lutisher Edmondson, pictured above, participates in EnhanceFitness classes at Southeast Seattle Senior Center. She says the classes have helped her a lot.

"They have completely changed my life," says Lutisher. "Before, I was just sitting at home working puzzles. I have arthritis in my knees. Now I go to class three times every week consistently, and I've been attending for many years. It has helped me with so many things in my life—carrying groceries, getting down stairs more easily. It makes me stronger and has enabled me to keep doing the things I love, like bowling. I bowl every week and I think it's because the class makes me stronger."

EnhanceFitness has won prestigious awards from highly recognized organizations, including the International Council on Active Aging, Washington Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity, U.S. Health and Human Services, U.S. Administration on Aging, National Council on Aging, and National Institute of Senior Centers.

EnhanceFitness is managed by Senior Services. For more information, including a list of EnhanceFitness sites in King County, visit ProjectEnhance online. Also, please visit the EnhanceFitness Facebook page!

—Susan Snyder and Andrea Meewes-Sanchez, Senior Services