Fit and Strong! has been demonstrated to improve function in its target population.
A randomized controlled trial compared the effects of participation in Fit and Strong! (N = 115) to a wait list control group (N = 110) at baseline, two, six, and twelve months following randomization.
Relative to the control group, Fit and Strong! participants experienced statistically significant improvements at two months (end of formal program) in their
- confidence in their ability to exercise safely with arthritis
- participation in exercise, and
- lower extremity stiffness
These benefits were maintained at six months at which time participants also experienced the additional significant benefits of increased confidence in their ability to adhere to exercise over time, a significant decrease in lower extremity joint pain, and a marginally significant increase in their confidence in their ability to manage arthritis pain.
At 12 months, significant treatment group effects were maintained on confidence to exercise safely with arthritis and continued exercise participation that were accompanied by marginally significant reductions in lower extremity stiffness and pain. No adverse health effects were seen.
Although Fit and Strong! ends at 2 months, effect sizes for self-efficacy for exercise and for exercise adherence at 6 and 12 months in the treatment group were large, at 0.798 and 0.713, and 0.905 and 0.669, respectively. Furthermore, treatment group participants maintained a 56% increase in participation in physical activity relative to their baseline levels at 12 months. This rate is approximately double the rate observed among control group members at twelve months. These findings indicate that Fit and Strong! has demonstrated substantial efficacy.