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P86 Evaluation of the Bodywise Program for Older Adults Residents of the District of Columbia

      Objective

      To evaluate the implementation of the Bodywise program, a free program designed to promote health, wellness, and fitness for elder DC residents.

      Use of Theory or Research

      Physical activity and its association with healthy aging is an important public health issue. Physical activity decreases different causes of mortality and plays an important role in the prevention of many aging-related chronic diseases. However, the number of older adults who are physically active enough to maintain wellness is low and decreases with age. The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) worked to improve physical activity in older adults by offering free exercise classes.

      Target Audience

      Participants were DC residents aged 60 or older.

      Program Description

      The Bodywise program includes water aerobics, yoga, low-impact aerobics, and chair exercise classes, conducted by certified instructors. These classes not only aim to improve the health and wellness of participants but also provide great opportunities to socialize.

      Evaluation Methods

      A designed evaluation survey was filled out by participants which collected demographic data, the quality/satisfaction of classes, and each participant's opinion.

      Results

      There were 33 participants including 29 female, 4 male, 29 non-Hispanic, and 29 with an academic degree. Overall satisfaction with the Bodywise program was 93% and 81% of participants reported overall satisfaction with their instructor, specifically related to knowledge, skill level, and appropriateness of music. About 70% of participants preferred classes 2 times per week with Wednesday and Friday classes being the most popular. Encouragement to stay physically active and opportunity for socialization were mentioned as the main reasons participants engaged in the Bodywise program.

      Conclusions

      The Bodywise program gained the overall satisfaction of participants. Further research is necessary to investigate the impact of this program on behavioral changes of the participants.
      Funding District of Columbia Department of Aging and Community Living.

      Appendix. Supplementary data