Exercise

Exercise and physical activity is important for all ages. It improves physical health and can increase mental wellbeing, social connection and spark friendships. Age Concerns run many exercise programmes, the most widespread and popular programme is Steady As You Go©.

Do you want to improve your balance, leg strength and meet new people?

Steady As You Go© is a fun and social, strength and balance exercise programme for older adults. The exercises are gentle, progressively increase balance and muscle mass, and are specifically designed for older people. The classes run for sixty minutes each week, for $3.00.

To join a Steady As You Go© class, enter your postcode at the bottom of this page to contact your local Age Concern today!

Did you know falls are preventable and are not a natural part of ageing?

Steady As You Go© has been evaluated by University of Otago researchers. They found the classes improved physical function, reduced the risk of falls, were fun, improved sense of wellbeing and confidence and provided links with other people in the neighbourhood. Join a Steady As You Go© class to increase:
  • Independence
  • Balance and balance confidence
  • Leg strength
  • Flexibility
  • Spatial awareness
  • Wellbeing
  • General fitness
  • Social connections
  • Tasks in everyday life

Participants have said:

“I was having trouble with basic housework before I started… and I don’t anymore."
“It gives you more awareness of your body – lifting your feet, how you walk, a tiny squat to regain balance."
"My legs are stronger so I can climb stairs more easily.”
“I am much quicker and more confident now”
“I am having fun meeting new people”
“The eye exercises have really improved my balance”
“My body feels alive”
“I think it’s good for one’s self-esteem… I think it gives you more confidence and shows you can do things that you didn’t think you could do.”
“Have something to look forward to, thank you for arranging these classes.”
“Enjoyed the classes and the company.”

About Steady As You Go©

Steady As You Go©, began in Otago in 2003. The programme uses exercises designed by physiotherapists, exercises from the Otago Exercise Programme, and exercises based on tai chi principles; mindfulness and controlled movement. Since 2003, over 230 Steady As You Go© groups have been set up and over 3500 people participate weekly in the classes across Aotearoa/New Zealand


The gentle Steady As You Go© exercises are designed to improve balance, leg strength, flexibility, spatial awareness, general fitness and well-being. The classes include a seated warm up, followed by standing, strengthening, walking and vision exercises and closes with a seated warm down. A range of light ankle weights is used for the leg strengthening exercises and all participants are encouraged to work at their own pace and stop if they encounter any pain.

A Steady As You Go© class is set up and led for the first ten weeks by a qualified Age Concern Steady As You Go© instructor. These ten weeks include a pre- and post- assessment to track improvements in week one and week ten of the programme. After ten weeks, the class continues with the help of trained peer leaders from within the group and the support of an Age Concern Steady As You Go© coordinator.

Steady As You Go© stories

“I have been leading classes for two years and the benefits expressed to me by class participants include increased confidence, flexibility and well-being. The classes provide not only strength and balance exercises, but as many older people are lonely they also provide an environment where the participants can socialise and meet with others in a friendly atmosphere.    
One lady tells of having fallen three times in two years before attending Steady As You Go©, resulting in her feeling anxious about the possibility of another fall. After attending the classes for a few months she managed to steady herself when she almost tripped over in her home, and her confidence has returned.
Another lady remembered how she cautiously tested whether the pavement was icy during the winter months by using a cautious foot placing method she learnt in her Steady As You Go© class.
Another reported how she managed to prevent a fall by regaining balance after tripping over a hose and almost falling forward.
The smiling faces of the people who attend and exercise together is an additional benefit that makes the Steady As You Go© classes a worthwhile and welcome addition to the overall wellbeing and health of the community of older people in our area.”
Alexandra Steady As You Go© class.

Why is falls prevention important?

  • 1 in 3 people over 65 fall every year.
  • This ratio increases to 1 in 2, for people over 85.
  • Approximately 4000 Kiwis fall and break a hip annually.
  • Falls are the most common cause of injury in older people.
  • The physical impacts of a fall can be very serious (hip fractures, head injuries, hospitalisation, early admission to residential care, and in some cases, mortality)
  • The psychological impacts of a fall can also be very serious (loss of confidence, fear and anxiety, PTSD, restriction of physical and social activities, increased frailty, psychological distress, isolation and depression).

Many people reject the idea that they’re at risk of falling. We're here to promote the positive benefits of exercise programmes on health, wellbeing and independence. Join a Steady As You Go© class today!

Research evidence behind Steady As You Go©

For more information

Go to our page on Falls prevention, Physical activity and exercise or contact your nearest Age Concern to learn about the exercise groups running in your area.

Find your nearest Age Concern