ASI faculty affiliates are engaged in a variety of outreach activities that involve disseminating research findings, training gerontology educators, and working with aging-related non-profit organizations.
Research on healthy aging indicates numerous benefits of regular physical activity. Studies focusing on group exercise involving dance and sport-like exercise show participant improvements in physical health, cognitive capacity, and emotional well-being.
One challenge is providing older adults in disadvantaged neighborhoods access to exercise programs containing culturally-relevant material and taught by culturally-competent instructors. Employing a “one-program-fits-all” approach is not likely to be successful in effectively engaging a diverse range of older adults. But best practices for adapting exercise programs to meet the need of diverse populations of older adults have not been established.
Therefore, Movement for Healthy Aging aims to:
- Increase physical activity among mature adults living in the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County, which will lead to improvements in the physical health, mobility, and psychological well-being.
- Identify best practices for delivering a dance-based exercise program to socioeconomically, racially, and ethnically diverse older adult populations, which will facilitate expanding the program to additional locations to reach broader populations.
- Secure stable, long-term funding that allows us to continue offering the program free-of-charge.
In the past year, the program has been offered in four community-based locations in the Syracuse area, including Liverpool, the Southside, and the Near Westside. Over sixty older adults participated in the program at these locations. In addition, more than 100 people participated in a summer program at Onondaga Lake Park.
Movement for Healthy Aging has received support from the New York State Department of Children and Family Services and the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York.
You can view the Policy Briefs here.