Community Older Adult Exercise Programs: An Evaluation of Compliance to Professional Standards

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The preparedness of community facilities offering exercise programs to older adults is unknown. On-site evaluations were conducted by trained professionals to assess compliance of community older adult exercise programs with fitness-industry standards. Fourteen facilities were evaluated whose clientele (N = 2,172) were predominantly White (98%) women (87%) over 75 years of age (66%). Few of the 14 facilities required exercise participants to complete preactivity health questionnaires (n = 5), 3 administered informed consents, and none adhered to a medical-clearance policy. Only 2 facilities had defined emergency policies, and none conducted emergency drills. One site conducted exercise programs with instructors trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Professionally certified exercise instructors leading all exercise programs were observed in 1 facility. Most facilities evaluated were noncompliant with existing professional health and fitness standards. The practicality of imposing such standards on community exercise programs for older adult requires further examination.

Costanzo and Rustico are with the Dept. of Health Promotion at New Britain General Hospital, New Britain, CT 06050. Pescatello is with the School of Allied Health at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269.

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