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Fit & Strong

Updated December 17, 2020

Hope Kleine

SDSU Extension Health Education & Food Safety Field Specialist

Additional Authors: Nikki Prosch
Older couple walking on a trail in the countryside. Husband is checking his activity tracker on his phone.

SDSU Extension offers Fit & Strong, an evidence-based physical activity program developed by researchers at the University of Illinois. This 8 or 12 week program targets older adults with osteoarthritis and has demonstrated significant functional and physical activity improvements in this population. However, anyone looking to become more active can experience success with this program.


  • Manage arthritis.
  • Exercise safely.
  • Decrease joint pain and stiffness.
  • Improve daily function.
  • Reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Develop and maintain an active lifestyle.



Limited in-person Fit & Strong workshops are being offered in South Dakota. Due to COVID-19, specific guidance is in place for all leaders and participants attending in-person workshops:

  • Any workshops held indoors require all leaders and participants to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.
  • Participants will be asked to sign a waiver, acknowledging they are aware of the risks associated with joining an in-person workshop.
  • Virtual programming is still strongly suggested.
  • Questions about workshop requirements and safety? Call 605-688-6409.

Register for In-Person Workshops


Fit & Strong @ Home is the online and remote adaptation of the in-person Fit & Strong program. Virtual program details are as follows:

  • Fit & Strong @ Home is done at the comfort of your own home, using a virtual delivery through Zoom video conferencing and an online portal.
  • The core components and all safety measures from traditional Fit & Strong still apply, along with additional safety measures and steps related to the online delivery.

To register for Fit & Strong @ Home, use the navigation below. Details for accessing your class via Zoom sessions will be sent one week prior to your session start date.

Register for Virtual Workshops

Our Participants Say

  • "This class has helped me so much. I kept thinking I would need knee surgery to help me in daily walking, but I now have the strength in my knees that I didn’t have before I came to this class. Coming to this class has been a very positive action for me."
  • "This program was valuable in that we added, not only aerobic activity to the mix, but also strength training, flexibility exercises and health education to aid us with osteoarthritis and stiffness. We have been better-equipped to take the steps to better health.”
  • "One of the reasons for my participation in the Fit & Strong program is to assist me in battling rheumatoid arthritis. When a Vectra exam (which measures the level of the disease) was administered in 2010, I was diagnosed at a high risk to develop serious symptoms as I aged. The Fit & Strong program, which I've followed since 2019 has fostered healthy exercise habits."
  • "Fit and Strong! has provided me with the structure I require to engage in a continual program of exercise. I'm the type of individual who requires a framework to motivate me to engage in a regular program of physical exercise. This, coupled with the benefits achieved by my husband, ensures my keeping up in my Fit & Strong goals."
  • "I believe this exercise program has helped me greatly! I now can get out of bed without problems with leg and hip stiffness, go up and down stairs much more easily, and just feel better overall with more energy and ambition. I’ve even lost a few pounds, which is always good. The exercises make me feel stronger, and I’ve really enjoyed them. Keep up the good work!"
  • "The Fit & Strong program was valuable in that we added not only aerobic activity to the mix, but also strength training, flex exercises and health education to aid us with osteoarthritis and stiffness. Hope capably demonstrated the use of exercise bands and ankle weights."

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