Healthy Lifestyle Workshops

The following programs are available in NY, and have been shown to be effective in helping people manage their symptoms. Learn more about how you can take charge of your health!

Self Management

Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP)

The CDSMP is a six-week, interactive peer-support program designed by Stanford University. Workshops meet once a week for 2 ½ hours in convenient community settings such as libraries, senior centers, churches and hospitals. The small-groups are facilitated by a pair of leaders - one or both of whom is a non health professional who lives with a chronic disease. The program is designed to help people learn techniques and strategies for the day-to-day management of ongoing health conditions. People with different chronic conditions and/or disabilities attend together. The CDSMP focuses on issues common to people with a variety of health conditions, and participants develop skills through action planning and feedback, behavior modeling, problem solving techniques, and decision making. Caregivers are also welcome to attend.

  • CDSMP topics include:
    • Appropriate use of medications
    • Healthy eating and proper nutrition
    • Managing sleep and fatigue
    • Safe and effective stretching and strengthening exercise
    • Effective communication with friends, family and health care professionals

Tomando Control de su Salud is also available in NYS. It is not a translation of the CDSMP, but was developed separately. Topics covered are similar, but are presented in culturally appropriate ways and delivered entirely in Spanish.

Physical Activity

Enhance Fitness® (EF)

EnhanceFitness®, a low-cost, evidence-based group exercise program, helps older adults at all levels of fitness become more active, energized, and empowered to sustain independent lives. The program is appropriate for those with and without arthritis.

EF program components include:

  • A certified instructor with special training in bringing out the physical best from older adults
  • A 5-minute warm-up to get the blood flowing to the muscles
  • A 20-minute aerobics workout that gets participants moving, or a walking workout to lively music that the class chooses
  • A 5-minute cool-down
  • A 20-minute strength training workout with soft ankle and wrist weights (0 up to 20 pounds)
  • A 10-minute stretching workout to keep the muscles flexible
  • Balance exercises throughout the class
  • Lots of opportunities for participants to make new friends and acquaintances

If you are interested in attending an EnhanceFitness program, contact the Alliance of New York State YMCAs at 518-462-8241 or

Walk With Ease Self-Directed (WWE)

Specifically developed for people with arthritis, this Arthritis Foundation program is also appropriate for people without arthritis, especially those with diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions, who want to become more active. Beginners to the physically fit can benefit - the only pre-requisite is the ability to be on your feet for at least 10 minutes without increased pain. Individuals use the Walk With Ease Guidebook and walk on their own 3 times per week for at least six weeks. Additional resources are available online to guide participants through the program, including walking tips and tricks, video instruction for stretching and strengthening exercises and message boards for communicating with other participants.

WWE topics include:

  • Exercise do's and don'ts including tips for walking comfortably and safely
  • Methods to make walking fun
  • Making a doable personal walking plan with realistic goals for improved fitness
  • Arthritis basics and the relationship between arthritis, exercise and pain
  • Tips for "sticking with it," even when the going gets tough
  • Information about other programs and resources that can help keep you walking

Active Living Every Day (ALED)

The ALED program helps less active people with or without arthritis to become and stay physically active by incorporating physical activity into their everyday lives. Developed by researchers at the Cooper Institute, ALED is a 12-week program that meets in small group sessions for one hour per week. Participants do not engage in exercise during the program sessions; instead, they learn different ways to increase their physical activity and make it part of their daily routine. This information is used to make personal decisions about the type, frequency, intensity and amount of exercise that is suitable for each participant.

ALED topics include:

  • Addressing challenges and barriers to physical activity
  • Setting realistic activity goals
  • Time management
  • Developing social support systems

If you are interested in attending or offering any of the programs described above, visit the Quality and Technical Assistance Center (QTAC) at the University at Albany to learn more. Additional evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs are available in NY.

Additional Recommended Programs

In addition to the programs being promoted by the New York State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends these additional programs to help you manage your arthritis:

Physical Activity

Self Management