According to a recent report, elderly men and women who regularly participated in low-cost workout programs at places such as the YMCA or senior centers saw improvements in their physical abilities and lowered their risk of becoming disabled. Folks from the Center for Research on Health and Aging and the Institute for Health Research and Policy in Chicago conducted this study to test the accuracy of a past report that ranked the best facilities and programs for people older than 50.

The study targeted 544 adults currently enrolled in a regular exercise program and randomly assigned them to participate in one of the programs. The results: In 5 to 10 months, participants showed significant improvements in their confidence, physical ability to continue exercising and negotiating obstacles and strength in their upper and lower extremities.

“Our findings indicate that the low-cost health promotion programs should be expanded with public funding from programs like the Administration on Aging, and that health promotion for older adults should be included in the national health care reform agenda that is now focusing on prevention,” said Susan L. Hughes, the co-director of the Center for Research on Health and Aging and the study’s lead author.

Read RH’s “Grown n’ Healthy” for more ideas on workouts geared for the elderly.