HOUSTON & PHILADELPHIA, February 17, 2015 - The Cigna Foundation announced today that it is awarding a $150,000 World of Difference grant that will enable the Philadelphia Freedom Valley and Greater Houston YMCAs to launch their Enhance®Fitness Program within their communities. EnhanceFitness is an evidence-based physical activity program proven to increase the physical, mental and social functioning of older adults - particularly those with arthritis. The Philadelphia and Houston Y Associations will be piloting the program at several of their area YMCA facilities, with the goal of eventually bringing it to other branches and even into the community at locations other than YMCAs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52 million Americans have arthritis, including about half of all adults over age 65. Almost 23 million Americans report that arthritis limits their physical activity. Research has shown that low-intensity physical activity performed on a regular basis can reduce pain, improve functioning, elevate mood and delay the onset of arthritis and other chronic disease.
Participants in EnhanceFitness take part in a series of classes from certified YMCA staff, including proven aerobic, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises that are safe, effective and modifiable for a variety of fitness levels. Fitness assessments will be conducted on a regular basis to track participants' progress. In addition to physical benefits, the program will provide a fun, social atmosphere that fosters relationships between program participants.
"The Cigna Foundation is dedicated to helping individuals live healthier, more secure lives; and for our seniors that means a life free of debilitating conditions such as arthritis," said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation. "We're proud to partner with the 'Y' to help seniors in Philadelphia and Houston become more active, energized and empowered for independent living through the EnhanceFitness program."
The Cigna Foundation World of Difference grants provide support for improving children's wellness, senior care, women's health and health equity - the four social priorities for Cigna's corporate responsibility platform known as Cigna Connects.
EnhanceFitness is currently offered at 44 YMCAs across the country through a licensing agreement with Senior Services, Inc., the Seattle-based non-profit organization that developed the EnhanceFitness program model. Through this World of Difference grant, the Cigna Foundation, in partnership with the Y's national resource office, YMCA of the USA, will enable seniors served by the Philadelphia Freedom Valley and Greater Houston Y Associations to enjoy this valuable health-enhancing program.
For more information about EnhanceFitness, please contact Aimee Smith, Director of Healthy Living, 215-963-3705 or email@example.com for Philadelphia details, or Andrew Lorino, Senior Director of Membership Experience at 713-758-9141 or firstname.lastname@example.org for Houston details.
About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation, founded in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 85 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children - regardless of age, income or background - to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. For more information, please www.ymca.net.
About Senior Services, Inc.
Senior Services offers a comprehensive network of services promoting the emotional, social, and physical well-being of more than 60,000 older adults and their families throughout King County, WA and supports nationally disseminated evidence-based fitness and wellness programs. Since 1967, Senior Services has been a leader in connecting older adults with high quality programs and senior centers that support them to live active lives while enabling them to make their own choices to suit their lifestyles and preferences. Senior Services has been a major player in the aging field for more than 45 years. For more information, visit: www.seniorservices.org