seniors exercising

Fit & Strong! is an evidence-based physical activity/behavior change intervention that has been successfully implemented in multiple community-based settings. Fit & Strong! blends a multiple component exercise program with group problem solving/education using a curriculum designed to facilitate arthritis symptom management, confidence in ability to exercise safely with arthritis and commitment to lifestyle change.

Nikki Prosch shared how Fit & Strong! can help people at risk with falls become more confident. Prosch works at SDSU Extension as a Health & Physical Activity Field Specialist. Prosch has a B.S. in health, physical education and recreation and an M.S. in nutrition, exercise and food science. She is also the Fit & Strong!  program coordinator in South Dakota.

Fit & Strong! Program Goals and Benefits:

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

Nikki Prosch headshot

“Fit & Strong! has reached over 100 South Dakotans through our virtual @Home program and over 300 South Dakotans through our in-person programming. Of these participants, 80% reported that completing the workshop reduced their fear of falling, 35% of participants reported being more confident that they could reduce their number of falls and 28% felt more confident they could protect themselves in the case of fall. We have also grown a network of trained community leaders and organizations across the state, with over 23 active leaders located across South Dakota,” shared Prosch.

Before the end of the eight or twelve week Fit & Strong! program, participants meet with the instructor to develop individualized exercise plans that foster ongoing maintenance of a balanced physical activity routine. The Fit & Strong! program is a recognized fall prevention program by the Centers for Disease Control and National Council on Aging.

Watch this Fit & Strong! video for an explanation of the program, benefits, application and participant testimonials.

Fit & Strong! @Home is the online & remote adaptation of the Fit & Strong! program. 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. Fit & Strong! @Home is done at the comfort of your own home, using a virtual delivery for the program through Zoom. Workshops include a multi-component approach, with flexibility, strength training, aerobics, health education and group discussion all included. Find an available workshop.

Prosch concluded, “providing an opportunity for all South Dakotans to participate in a Fit & Strong! workshop, or other evidence-based physical activity program, is something I hope to accomplish.”

Falls continue to be a national public health concern. Join the week of September 18-24 in a nationwide effort to raise awareness that falls are preventable. This is a perfect opportunity for healthcare workers and caregivers in North and South Dakota to learn more about available programs, identify ways to prevent falls and take steps to reduce the risk.

Webinar: Removing Stumbling Blocks to Reduce Falls 
September 19, 2022 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CT

A simple stumble or slip can result in a serious injury or even death. Individuals 65 and older are at a higher risk for injury from a fall, which most often happens at home or at a residential care facility. Encouraging participation in evidence-based programs can help prevent a fall by increasing balance and strength, while also improving quality of life.


  1. Explore opportunities to implement fall screening in communities across South Dakota
  2. Explain the value of evidence-based fall prevention programs
  3. Describe the personal benefits to individuals who participate in evidence-based fall prevention programs
  4. Review availability of programs across South Dakota

Learn more and get registered

This Webinar is hosted by Great Plains Quality Innovation Network in partnership with the South Dakota Fall Prevention Coalition and Sanford Health.