Live Stronger for Longer


8 October 2018

A local Live Stronger for Longer class

Whanganui District Health Board director of nursing and falls prevention expert Sandy Blake says she can’t impress enough how important it is for older people to remain active.

One week into an ongoing national effort to promote Live Stronger for Longer , Mrs Blake is urging older people to get involved in community strength and balance classes to reduce their risk of falls and fractures which inevitably, will have a serious impact on their quality of life.

For some years now Mrs Blake and the Whanganui DHB have been 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.

Exercise providers who meet the nine evidence-based clinical assessment criteria for community-based strength and balance classes are eligible to use the ACC quality ‘tick’ which people are encouraged to look for when making enquiries.

Where are the classes?

Strength and balance classes have been established around the Whanganui, Rangitikei, Waimarino and Taihape areas. Details of classes can be found at and Whanganui District Health Board's website

How much will it cost?

As a general guide, classes cost between $3 and $10.

What will the classes involve?

Classes are developed and adapted to suit a range of abilities and ages – so whether you are 60 or older you will benefit from attending. As well as exercises that will help improve your strength and balance, the classes also include some gentle exercise to music to help improve your core strength, fun activities to improve your balance, and stretches to help with your flexibility.

Will I have to wear lycra or special clothing?

No, unless you want to of course. Comfortable clothes that you can move in, and flat, comfortable shoes is the only pre-requisite.

Will I keep up?

The instructor will be able to adapt the exercises to make them easier or harder to suit the participant – so yes, you will be able to keep up. The goal is to improve yourself, not compete with others. Although these classes may make you breathe a little harder, they won’t involve any exercises that could do you harm.

Who can attend a class?

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

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.

The service focuses on the frail elderly who are unable to access the community, and completes assessments and interventions in the patient’s own home to help reduce the risk of falls. It employs a full-time registered nurse, a part-time occupational therapist and part-time physiotherapist.

In general, referrals to the service come through a person’s GP or health care provider such as a district nurse. Alternatively, please call the Falls Prevention Service on 06 348 3407.