Strength and balance classes are the way to go for elderly people who are struggling to find ways to stay active, the Whanganui District Health Board says.

The DHB's director of nursing and falls prevention expert, Sandy Blake, is getting in behind an ongoing national campaign called "Live Stronger for Longer".

Blake was urging older people to get involved in community strength and balance classes to reduce risk of falls and fractures, which could have a serious impact on their quality of life.

She said she couldn't stress enough how important it was for older people to remain active.


Blake and the Whanganui DHB are strong supporters of a local effort to provide access to approved community-based group strength and balance classes for older adults across the Whanganui, Rangitikei, Waimarino and Taihape areas.

The DHB said people looking for an exercise provider should look out for the ACC quality tick, which meant the practice met nine evidence-based clinical assessment criteria.

Strength and balance classes cost between $3 and $10 and would be adapted to suit a range of abilities and ages.

As well as exercises that will help improve your strength and balance, the classes also include some gentle exercise to music to help improve core strength, fun activities to improve balance, and stretches to help with flexibility.

The DHB said people do not have to wear lycra or special clothing but can if they choose to. It said people should wear clothes they can move in as well as flat, comfortable shoes.

Anyone over the age of 60 years who wants to maintain, regain or improve their strength and balance can attend the classes.

For those unable to access these classes, there is the option of accessing the Falls Prevention Service - an ACC-funded programme dedicated to reducing the incidence of older adults' falls.