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Exercise for Strength and Balance

Regular exercise can help you to maintain mobility, balance, strength, flexibility and confidence, and help to prevent falls

National recommendations from the Department of Health state that, as we get older, in order to get the health benefits of being active we should do the following:

  • Aim to be active daily and try to do at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity activity a week
  • Do exercises to improve the strength of our muscles and bones.
  • Do exercises to help improve our balance and coordination.

Strength and balance is considered to be one of the biggest interventions in reducing the risk of falls.

Exercise classes will help you to achieve these objectives.

There are a range of exercise classes available in Southampton. They have been entered onto the Southampton Information Directory under the following headings:

Chair Based Exercises (CBE)

These sessions are predominantly seated, but may include some optional standing exercises.

If you are new to exercise and or feel that you are unsteady on your feet then these are the sessions for you.

Chair Based Exercises, including some standing exercises

These sessions involve both CBE and some supported standing exercises to improve lower body strength and balance. Some classes include optional movement beyond standing.

If you are generally steady on your feet or feel you need to progress from just seated exercises then these are the sessions for you.

Otago Exercise Programme

These classes include mainly standing strength and balance exercises using light ankle weights to improve lower body strength and balance with the possibility of some seated strength work. There is robust evidence that these exercises can help prevent falls in the future.

If you are steady on your feet or have completed a falls prevention session within your local falls clinic then these would be the sessions to choose.

Postural Stability (PSI) and Falls Management Exercise (FaME)

These classes include mainly standing strength and balance exercises with the possibility of some seated strength work. Exercises, including coping strategies and functional floor work will be included to help you return to your feet should you have a fall. There is robust evidence that these exercises can help prevent falls in the future.

If you are steady on your feet, have good mobility, or have completed a falls prevention course within your local falls team then these would be the sessions to choose.

Tai Chi

T'ai Chi is a Chinese exercise system that uses slow, smooth body movements to achieve a state of relaxation of both body and mind. These exercises have been found to be very good for strengthening lower limb muscles and improving balance.

If you have not had a fall and are generally active then this would be the best option for you to increase your strength and balance.

Others

In the directory are classes for walking and dancing and some labelled ‘general exercise’. If you have not had a fall and are generally fit and active then this may be a good option for you.

How to take part in an activity

Look through the directory to find the type of activity you would like to take part in. Some instructors have multiple venues for their classes. Contact the instructor directly or just turn up.

Please note

Instructors have been checked by the Southampton Falls Prevention Service, and assessed to ensure they meet certain minimum standards.

While they have been assessed as delivering sessions which incorporate balance and strength exercises, Southampton City Council and Solent NHS Trust are not responsible for the individual sessions and do not employ the instructors.

For this reason it is recommended that you satisfy yourself prior to commencing exercising that you are fit and able to exercise, the instructor has current personal liability insurance and is aware of and able to provide any individual support which you may require.

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