Members of the community are a ‘step up’ thanks to falls reduction classes

Date 22.03.2023

Older people who have suffered falls or are at risk of falling walk more confidently after taking expert-led physical activity classes at Waterside campus.

The classes are held in the University of Northampton’s (UON) Sports Zone each Wednesday from 13:30-14:30. They use a combination of strength, mobility and balance activities designed to strengthen the muscles used when walking and maintaining balance.

The programme is now eight weeks in, and Julia Corps is one of the people taking the Otago classes. She saw the benefits of attending the classes almost from the ‘get go’: “I had experienced four falls in three months and wanted do something to stop this from happening again. Even after the first class, my mobility and balance improved. I walk with a friend and noticed I could do this without relying on a walking stick. I felt much better and free.”

The sessions are part of Northamptonshire Sports’ county-wide, Get Up & Go’ initiative to reduce the risk of falls; according to the NHS, a third of people aged 65 or more and around half of those aged 80 and over fall at least once a year.

Ben Wright from the UON Sports team leads the Waterside Otago classes and adds: “It’s been a pleasure to deliver the Otago classes at Waterside. We check everyone’s progress at intervals throughout the programme, and our observations and analysis bear out what Julia says. We see our guests walking with more confidence and using better movement patterns. Considering how much improvement we have seen even early on in the programme it has surpassed our initial expectations.

“An added benefit to taking the classes is the social side. People are getting to know each other and making friends, helping them adhere to what they do at Waterside and when they go for walks. We still have room for anyone who wishes to join our class on Wednesday 29 March.”

Waterside Otago classes cost £3 per person; email Ben for more and how to take part: