An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville | Statement of Compassion & Inclusion

The Otago Exercise Program

What Is It?

The Otago Exercise Program is a series of 17 strength and balance exercises delivered by a Physical Therapist in the home that reduces falls between 35 and 40% for frail 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.

Who should attend The Otago Exercise Program?

The program was designed to benefit older adults who:

  • Are concerned about falls
  • Have sustained falls in the past
  • Restrict activities because of concerns about falling
  • Are interested in improving flexibility, balance and strength

What are the components of The Otago Exercise Program?

The Otago Exercise Program (Otago) is an individually tailored, home-based, 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.  Otago is one of a few fall prevention programs that improves strength and balance and reduces falls and fall related injuries among older adults.  Because this program is delivered by a licensed physical therapist, it is only available in certain locations within North Carolina.  For further information, please visit the following link:

During the program, participants learn to:

  • Increase strength, balance, and endurance.
  • Develop a lifestyle change that incorporates strength and balance training through a minimum of 2 hours per week.