An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville

The Otago Exercise Program

What Is It?

Impaired strength and balance contribute to most falls. Improving stability requires a specific, safe exercise program and ongoing commitment. The Otago Exercise Program is a series of 17 strength and balance exercises delivered by a Physical Therapist that reduces falls between 35 and 40% for older adults. This evidence-based program, developed in New Zealand, calls for PTs to assess, coach and progress patients over the course of six months to one year, though improvements have been documented in as little as eight weeks.

Who should attend Otago?

The program was designed to benefit older adults who:

  • Have sustained falls in the past
  • Have difficulty with gait, balance, or leg strength
  • Are willing and able to work with a physical therapist
  • Are limited in activities because of concerns about falling

What are the components of The Otago Exercise Program?

The Otago Exercise Program (Otago) is an individualized balance and strength fall prevention program that is delivered by a physical therapist over the course of 52 weeks.  Otago was developed and tested by the New Zealand Falls Prevention Research Group and is part of ongoing work at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Because this program is delivered by a licensed physical therapist, it is only available via certain clinicians within North Carolina.  For further information, or to find an Otago Physical Therapist near you, please click this link .