Spring into Exercise: Adaptive Exercise Educational Programming for Senior Citizens

The population of senior citizens in Johnson County continues to grow, which expands the gap of health services that fit their unique needs. The numerous benefits of exercise on the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social wellbeing of older adults are well-established, however, barriers to exercise grow with chronic health conditions and reduced mobility that come with age. These barriers increased further with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, as many exercise programming options for seniors were discontinued, leading older adults to become less motivated to stay active. In partnership with health professionals and the Iowa City Senior Center, the free three-week program “Spring into Exercise” was developed in the Spring of 2022. This program aimed to improve seniors’ scientific understanding of how exercise can mitigate age-related health changes they notice in their daily lives, how to utilize available senior center equipment for adaptive strength training, and how to perform adaptive exercises at home to maintain flexibility. With these three foci, the program hopes to increase senior mobility, fall prevention, and functional independence ​in Johnson County and develop into a sustainable resource for seniors to access moving forward.

Project Author(s): 
Author Bio(s): 
Grant Welk is a junior from Ames, Iowa studying biochemistry and public health. Grant is currently an undergraduate researcher in the Spitz Lab, studying free radicals and redox stress in cancer biology. Outside of classes, Grant enjoys volunteering at UIHC, working with Exercise is Medicine, and exploring the outdoors. As a Latham fellow, Grant hopes to organize outreach projects that help the local community better access, understand, and get involved with science.