Community In Action

Examples of programs, policies, and tools in action.

Medically-supervised program helps residents get active safely

In 2002, more than 30% of the residents in a rural, upstate region of New York experienced at least one major health condition that negatively affected their lives—from heart disease and diabetes, to obesity and osteoarthritis. Enter Fit for Life. A coalition of local agencies in the Adirondack Region of northern New York created the medically-supervised exercise program to improve the quality of life for residents with these conditions, while ensuring they remain active safely given their health status. A physician’s referral and medical clearance are required for initial enrollment, after which qualified patients undergo a comprehensive intake assessment and have access to individualized exercise plans and various forms of exercise at community facilities.

The program—which enrolled 309 participants in its three-year grant cycle—had positive results, such as improved metabolic levels, reduced rates of depression, and improved balance for participants. It’s now offered on a fee-for-service basis in three easy-to-access locations, and scholarship assistance is available to help make the program affordable for all.

To learn more about the Fit for Life program, visit the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) summary of this project and the Adirondack Health website. To connect with program staff, contact Andrea Chamberlain, Fit for Life Coordinator at Adirondack Health, at (518) 897-2271 or

Communities in Action provide examples of strategies or tools in action. Their purpose is to connect like-minded communities in their implementation efforts, giving insight into how others are tackling key challenges and what they've accomplished. To learn more about the evidence supporting this strategy's effectiveness or resources to help move towards implementation, see the What Works for Health summary of Community fitness programs.

Date added: September 15, 2015