Strength & Balance Exercise

Strength and balance exercises have major health benefits, and lots of activity options are available in the borough and online. This type of exercise is important for all age groups but particularly beneficial as we get older.

Benefits of taking part include:

  • Better muscle strength to complete daily tasks
  • Better balance for mobility
  • Reduced risk of falls
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved mood & sleep
  • Increased energy levels

Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss once you’re over 30. But the amount can be reduced by including muscle strength exercises into your weekly routine. Likewise as we get older we may find it harder to feel stable and steady on our feet. This can lead to falls. The good news is that certain exercises can help you to improve your balance regardless of age or how poor your balance might be.

The front cover of the Strong & Steady exercise guide

Strong & Steady Initiative – Launching Monday 13th May

Improve your strength and balance with simple exercises you can build into your daily routine. A free resistance band and exercise booklet is available for anyone aged over 50.

This is a new initiative promoting physical activity to help people to live well and age well. It focuses on encouraging people to be more active through incorporating simple strength and balance exercises into everyday life.

For more information visit our Strong & Steady webpage.

A strength and balance group exercise class

Activities found to have the most benefit for muscle and bone strengthening include:

  • Ball games
  • Racket sports
  • Dance
  • Resistance exercises and classes (usually with weights, but also includes body weight exercises which can be simple and performed anywhere)

If you are worried about falls and frailty please speak to your GP, and you can find out more about why being active is so important with this Moving Medicine factsheet.

Find out why it’s safer for people with long-term conditions to be physically active with this Moving Medicine factsheet.

Community exercise sessions

  • DocSpot Exercise Referral Scheme – A 12-week programme for people with health conditions or at risk of developing them, including low strength and balance levels.
  • Golf on referral – A fun and interactive 6-week programme, combining talks on health and wellbeing and group activities with brushing up or learning basic golf skills under the supervision of an experienced Golf Professional.
  • Good Boost – Aimed at supporting people to manage their muscular skeletal conditions and pain, delivered through individually-tailored exercises via tablets. Tudor Grange Leisure Centre hosts weekly group aquatic sessions in the pool on Fridays, whilst land-based sessions are available at Hatchford Brook, via group sessions or individual personalised workouts in the gym.
  • Dance to Health – Launching a dance class with a difference for over 50s in Solihull. The classes are proven to reduce the number and severity of falls experienced by people who complete the programme. Starting on Tuesday 16th April at 1.30pm at Solihull United Reformed Church.
  • Step into Solihull programme – Various types of group exercise sessions (e.g. Tai Chi, dance, yoga, walking sports, seated exercise and much more).
  • Balance, Strength & Mobility Classes – Available at the Family Renewal Centre, Monday & Thursday afternoon.
  • Gradual Movability – Classes to improve muscle strength, balance, posture and general wellbeing. Tuesdays 3pm at Ravenshaw Court, and Thursdays 1pm at Family Renewal Centre.
  • Spring Steps – An inclusive and fun fitness programme for those prefer standing exercises to help improve joint mobility, strength and maintain health conditions. Tuesdays 1.30pm at 1st Solihull Scouts Hut.
  • Paracise – A low impact, gentle but effective functional exercise to music class. Ideal for those who find regular fitness classes too demanding, or who haven’t exercised for a long time. Monday & Friday afternoons at The Core, Solihull.
  • Move it or Lose it – Exercise classes designed to help improve flexibility, aerobic health, balance and strength. The exercises can be done seated or standing, depending on ability – perfect for seniors. Thursday afternoons at Knowle United Reformed Church.
  • Forever Active – Physio-led strength & balance classes for older adults. Mondays 10am and Wednesdays 11.30am at St Phillips Church Centre, Dorridge.
  • Walking Sports – Slowed down versions of various sports.
  • Leisure centre memberships are available including concessionary rates, and pay as you go options at North Solihull Sports Centre and Tudor Grange Leisure Centre.

Exercising at home

If you prefer to exercise at home or are looking to supplement your other community activities with home-based exercise then here are a selection of strength and balance options:

More home exercise opportunities can be found on our Move More @ Home page.

Falls prevention services & information

How to join a local falls prevention service:

  • Postural Stability Instruction: Call 0121 704 7845 or email: [email protected] if you have fallen in the last 12 months. Find out more about this service on the Age UK Solihull website.
  • Solihull Community Falls Team: Your GP can refer you into the service.
    Following referral, call the falls team on: 0121 424 5177.

Further information:

  • Otago Home Exercise Programme DVDs and Audio CDs are available from Later Life Training.
  • For more information on improving strength and balance and reducing risk of falls visit the ROSPA website.
  • Help to prevent falls with these top tips.
  • Getting up safely after a fall can be difficult, find out the safest way with this factsheet.

Bone Strength

Bone Strength is also extremely important to maintain as we get older. To protect your bones you should:

  • Get plenty of weight bearing exercise
  • Go outside to get natural daylight every day
  • Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of calcium (dairy products, fish and leafy green vegetables) and vitamin D (eggs, oily fish and breakfast cereals)
  • Keep your alcohol intake low and stop smoking

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones lose their strength and are more likely to break. Half of women, and 1 in 5 men, over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis. If you are worried your GP can advise on tests for osteoporosis.

More information is available from the Royal Osteoporosis Society or by calling 0808 800 0035.