About

About the exercise groups

The Norwegian model «Strong and steady», exercise groups for elderly, is based on several international studies that have investigated the effect of balance- and strength exercise programs for elderly with an increased risk of falling and a reduced physical function. The offers target group is community dwelling older persons that have started to feel unsteady, have reduced walking ability or that are afraid of falling and/or have fallen. All instructors have completed the “Strong and steady” instructors course.

Background

The national guidelines for physical activity in Norway underlines that older persons with reduced balance should do balance exercises and strengthening exercises three or more times a week in addition to doing physical activity for 30 minutes at least five times a week.

Research shows that older persons with incipient decline in physical function need an adapted exercise program consisting of strength- and balance training if the exercise should prevent falls. The strength training should have loading and intensity that is high enough to increase muscle strength. The balance training is the most important component of exercise for fall prevention, and this training should be challenging enough.

The group exercise program “Strong and steady” is based on two fall prevention programmes developed in New Zealand (The Otago program) and Great Britain (FaME).

The exercise program “Strong and steady” and it’s model for training instructors and physiotherapists is developed by a resource group in collaboration with NTNU’s Research group for geriatrics, movement and stroke (GeMS). The development of the model has been supported financially by Orkdal Sanitetsforening and The Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Partners

The project Aktive Seniorer (Active Seniors) through “Strong and steady” is a collaborative project between Trondheim municipality, the foundation for retirees and NTNU. The projects main goal throughout a three years timespan is to develop a sustainable operating model for “Strong and steady” on a national level.

A sustainable operating model depends on the responsibility for coordination, training of instructors and academic updates is being taken care of on a national level. The project has received funding for one year and has the responsibility to spread the model through training of voluntary instructors and physiotherapists from Norwegian municipalities.

Trondheim municipality has offered “Strong and steady” exercise groups for the municipality’s habitants over the age of 65 for more than 10 years. This gives them experience with operating a health promotive and fall preventive low-threshold offer like this. Trondheim municipality has taken on the role as project coordinator.

The foundation for retirees has health as one of their most important matters, and physical activity and exercise are themes that are being highlighted. The foundation for retirees wishes to contribute with the marketing of “Strong and steady” in the municipalities through their organization on a political, national and local level.

NTNU’s research group for Geriatrics, Movement and Strike (GeMS) has movement related conditions as one of their priorities. The group has been doing research on causes and characteristics related to difficulties with movement, and measures to improve the ability to move in different medical diseases and conditions. NTNU wishes to contribute with updated knowledge, and development and implementation of new and updated knowledge in the field.

Video

This video was made in an early phase of the Strong and Steady project while the exercise groups were called “seniortrim”. The video shows an exercise group in Trondheim and an interview with a participant.