About Us


Lifelong Fitness Alliance is a 30-year old, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving health and wellness. Formerly Fifty Plus Fitness, Lifelong Fitness Alliance (LFA) changed its name three years ago to encompass a wider range of people because we believe it is never too early or late to be healthy and fit.


The Stanford University Medical Center has conducted research on health promotion, disease prevention, and the effects of exercise, particularly among older people’s health. Dr. Peter Wood of the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention (SCRDP) recruited a group of regular runners to serve as subjects in his experiments. In one study, Wood, Haskell, Klein et al., established that regular running was “associated with significant increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) levels (‘good cholesterol’).” 1

Inspired by these results, Fifty-Plus Fitness (renamed Lifelong Fitness Alliance) was formed in 1979 by the group of participants in the Stanford research in order to help provide subjects for continued research at Stanford, and to encourage older adults to run regularly. Dr. Peter Wood, one of the founders of the group, was elected to be its first President. Fifty-Plus Fitness grew steadily over the next twenty years by word of mouth, as well as articles about the organization in running magazines and other publications. A number of Fifty-Plus Fitness members have participated in a series of unique longitudinal studies on the effects of exercise over the past 15 years. Several dozen research papers based on studies of the organization’s membership have been published to date. A summary of these studies states that:

When contrasted with inactive community control groups, the Lifelong
Fitness Alliance cohort has been shown to display markedly better health
profiles, including several-fold advantages in mortality and disability
adjusted for age, sex, body mass, educational level, smoking history,
alcohol intake, blood pressure, and other co-morbid conditions. 2

In 1990, the focus of the organization expanded from only promoting running to promoting all aspects of fitness including walking. This broadened the appeal of the organization and helped to grow its membership.

In 2007, a pilot Fitness Ambassador program was launched in Palo Alto, CA in which 100 people participated in a 10-week walking program. Participants reported lowered blood pressure, weight loss, less need for medication, among other healthy changes in their daily lives. Ambassadors encouraged their participants to keep walking and to maintain their healthy changes after the program ended. This led to the current Stepping Strong program that is now offered nationwide to people of all ages.

1 P.Wood, W.Haskell, H.Klein, et al. “The Distribution of Plasma Lipoproteins in Middle-Aged Male Runners” Metabolism 1976; 25:1249-1254.

2 T.S. Clark, “The History, Aims, and Programs of the Fifty-Plus Fitness Association” Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 7(2): 196-200.

Comments are closed.