Better Strength, Better Balance! Exercise Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman holding hand weights

Better Strength, Better Balance! is a fall prevention exercise and education program for people aged 65+. It is funded by Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) through Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, and is a collaborative effort between Ottawa Public Health and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.

This is a beginner level program for those wishing to improve their strength and balance. Strong muscles, strong bones and better balance will make you more mobile and less likely to fall.

You are strong enough to participate safely if you can do ALL of the following:

  • stand on one foot for 2 seconds
  • stand for 20 minutes (e.g. in a grocery line)
  • walk one block (100 metres or 325 feet) without becoming out of breath and needing to sit down
  • walk up 10 stairs

Better Strength, Better Balance! classes are unsuitable for people who are very active.

Participants attend class twice a week for 12 weeks.

  • Classes are progressive, becoming increasingly difficult over the 12 weeks.
  • Participants practice exercises at home and review the provided health information related to preventing falls.
  • A variety of simple equipment is used, including bean bags, cones, stretch bands, and balls.

The program is offered in the winter, spring and fall

  • April 4 to June 24, 2016
  • September 19 to December 9, 2016
  • January 9 to March 31, 2017

NEW

First time participants can register for the next available session at any time. Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656).

Returning participants can register after these dates:

Fall 2016 registration begins August 15, 2016 starting at 8:30 am

Winter 2017 registration begins November 14, 2016 

To register or for more information please call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656).

Learn more about staying active as you age.

Download a poster [ PDF - 278.72 KB ] and help promote the Better Strength, Better Balance Exercise Program in your community!

Schedule

Central West East South

Central

Location

Address

Start
Date

Day and Time

OC Transpo
Bus Routes

Alexander Community Centre
Main Hall/Gym

960 Silver St, Ottawa

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

 176

Alexander Community Centre
Main Hall/Gym

960 Silver St, Ottawa Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
10:45 to 11:45 a.m.

176 

Routhier Community Centre
(This class is presented in French)

172 Guigues Ave, Ottawa Sept 21 Wednesday and Friday
2:15 to 3:15 pm 

Routhier Community Centre

172 Guigues Ave, Ottawa

Sept 21 Wednesday and Friday
3:15 to 4:15 pm 

Fisher Heights Community Place 

 31 Sutton Place, Nepean Sept 21

Wednesday and Friday
1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

118 

Fisher Heights Community Place

 31 Sutton Place, Nepean Sept 21

Wednesday and Friday
2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

118 

McNabb Community Centre 
Fitness Studio

180 Percy St., Ottawa

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

14, 85 

McNabb Community Centre 
Fitness Studio

180 Percy St., Ottawa

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
12:30 to 1:30 pm

 14, 85

Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre
Workshop 5 
(This class is presented in French)

300 Des Pères-Blancs, Ottawa

Sept 20 Tuesday and Thursday
1 to 2 p.m.
 5

Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre
Workshop 5

300 Des Pères-Blancs, Ottawa

Sept 20 Tuesday and Thursday
2 to 3 p.m.
 5

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West

Location

Address

Start
Date

Day and Time

OCTranspo
Bus Routes

West Carleton Community Complex
Roly Armitage Hall

5670 Carp Rd, Kinburn

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
9:15 to 10:15 a.m.

 

Kanata Recreation Complex, Program Room

100 Charlie Rogers Pl, Kanata

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
9 to 10 a.m.

118

Kanata Recreation Complex, Program Room

100 Charlie Rogers Pl, Kanata

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
10 to 11 a.m.

118

Michele Heights Community Centre, Gym

2955 Michele Dr, Ottawa

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
9 to 10 a.m.

85, 2, 97, 172

Michele Heights Community Centre, Gym

2955 Michele Dr, Ottawa

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
10:15 to 11:15 a.m.

85, 2, 97, 172

Goulbourn Town Hall

2135 Huntley Rd, Stittsville

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
11 a.m. to noon

 

Richmond Arena, Upstairs

6095 Perth St., Richmond

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
1 to 2 p.m.

 

Richmond Arena, Upstairs

6095 Perth St., Richmond

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
2 to 3 p.m.

 

Carp Memorial Hall

3739 Carp Road

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

 

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East

Location

Address

Start
Date

Day and Time

OCTranspo
Bus Routes

Blackburn Hamlet Community Hall

190 Glen Park Dr, Gloucester

Sept 19  

Monday and Friday
2:20 to 3:20 p.m.

94, 128

Blackburn Hamlet Community Hall

190 Glen Park Dr, Gloucester

Sept 19

Monday and Friday
3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

94, 128

Pat Clark Community Centre

(formerly Cyrville Community Centre)  

4355 Halmont Dr, Ottawa

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
10 to 11 a.m.

127, 129

Pat Clark Community Centre

(formerly Cyrville Community Centre)  

4355 Halmont Dr, Ottawa

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
11 a.m. to noon

127, 129

Dempsey Community Centre, Room 1

1895 Russell Rd, Ottawa

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

86

Fred Barrett Arena, Hall

3280 Leitrim Rd, Gloucester

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

144

Navan Memorial Community Centre, Hall 

1295 Colonial Dr, Navan

Sept 19

Monday: 1 to 2 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. to noon

 

R.J. Kennedy Memorial Community Centre,
Hall A & B 

1115 Dunning Rd, Cumberland

Sept 19

Monday and Friday
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

 

South Fallingbrook Community Centre Hall A
(This class is presented in French)

998 Valin St, Orleans

Sept 19

Monday and Friday
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

94, 122

South Fallingbrook Community Centre
Hall A

998 Valin St, Orleans

Sept 19

Monday and Friday
10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

94, 122

Queenswood Heights Community Centre

1485 Duford Dr, Orleans

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
2:10 to 3:10 p.m.

 

Queenswood Heights Community Centre
(This class is presented in French)

1485 Duford Dr, Orleans

Sept 19

Monday and Wednesday
3:10 to 4:10 p.m.

 

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South

Location

Address

Start
Date

Day and Time

OCTranspo
Bus Routes

Albion Heatherington Community Centre, Gym

1560 Heatherington Rd, Ottawa

Sept 20  

Tuesday and Thursday
10:15 to 11:15 a.m.

8, 41 Express

Chapman Mills Community Building, Main Hall

424 Chapman Mills Dr, Ottawa

Sept 19

Monday and Thursday
12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

99

Chapman Mills Community Building, Main Hall

424 Chapman Mills Dr, Ottawa

Sept 19

Monday and Thursday
2 to 3 p.m.

99

Chapman Mills Community Building, Main Hall
(This class is presented in Mandarin)

424 Chapman Mills Dr, Ottawa

Sept 20 Tuesday and Friday
2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
              99

Greely Community Centre, Hall B

1448 Meadow Dr, Greely

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
2 to 3 p.m.

 

Rideauview Community Centre

4310 Shoreline Dr, Gloucester

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

99

Rideauview Community Centre

4310 Shoreline Dr, Gloucester

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

99

Sawmill Creek Pool and Community Centre

3380 D'Aoust Ave, Gloucester

Sept 20

Tuesday and Thursday
1 to 2 p.m.

40

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who should register?

Attendance requirement

Age requirement

Registration process

Program locations and transportation

Other physical activity options 

Who should register?

Better Strength, Better Balance! is available to older adults aged 65+. It is not appropriate for people who are extremely active, or for those who have a hard time walking or standing for long periods.  

How do I know if I am strong enough to participate safely?

You are likely strong enough if you can do ALL of the following:

  • stand on one foot for 2 seconds
  • stand for 20 minutes (e.g. in a grocery line)
  • walk one block (100 metres or 325 feet) without becoming out of breath and needing to sit down
  • walk up 10 stairs

I use a cane and occasionally use a walker. Can I register?

Call Ottawa Public Health to discuss your situation. You might not be strong enough to participate.

I rely on a walker/scooter/wheelchair most of the time to get around. Can I join the class?

It is not safe for you to participate in this program. Call Ottawa Public Health to find out about other programs that will better meet your needs.

I am very active, have always participated in sports, and regularly go to the gym. Will this class be too easy for me?

Yes. You will likely find that this class is not challenging enough. If you have problems with your balance, however, you should consider registering.

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Attendance requirement

Why am I encouraged to attend at least 80% of the classes?

This is a progressive class to increase your strength and balance. Regular attendance will allow you to achieve the health benefits, and reduce your chance of falling. It is recommended that older adults participate in 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity every week, in addition to strength and balance activities.

Commitment is also important because this program is offered with limited public funds and there is a cancellation list for those who would like the opportunity to join.

I am going on holiday for three weeks. Can I still register?

As the classes are progressive, missing a block of time is not recommended. Consider joining the next session. The program is offered in the winter, spring and fall. 

I may be missing a class (or a few classes) because I am sick or have an appointment. Who do I call?

You do not need to call anyone if you are missing a class.

I am no longer able to participate in the program. Who do I call?

Call Ottawa Public Health to withdraw from the program.  

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Age requirement

I am under 65 years old. Can I register?

This program is for adults 65 years or older the day the course begins.  

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Registration process

What number do I call to register?

Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.

Can I just show up and attend these classes, since there is no charge?

No. You must register to attend. Please do not show up for class unless you are registered. This is not a drop-in program. 

Can I register online for this program?

Online registration is not available for this program. The only way to register is by calling Ottawa Public Health.

I have taken this program before and want to take it again. Can I?

Yes, if you still need it. This is an entry level program. As your strength and balance improves, you are encouraged to eventually progress to other exercise programs for older adults, which will benefit you.

Please see the section “Other Physical Activity Options

I called and left a message with Ottawa Public Health after registration opened. Am I registered?

No. Someone will call you back within two or three business days to register you. This program is very popular, and phone lines are very busy during the first week of registration. If you leave a message, you will hear back from Ottawa Public Health. Please do not leave more than one message.

Should I visit my doctor before I go to my first class?

Complete the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR Q+). This self-assessment will direct you to your doctor if needed. The PAR Q+ is also mailed to you with your registration confirmation. There is no need to bring your completed PAR Q+ form to class.

What do I need to bring to class?

Bring a water bottle. Wear comfortable, loose clothing and non-marking soled running shoes.  

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Program locations and transportation

Why is there no class near where I live?

This program has limited funding. Classes are located throughout the city, but unfortunately they are not available in every neighbourhood.

I have registered for a class, but do not know how to get there. Can you help? 

Most program locations are accessible by OC Transpo. Ottawa Public Health can tell you which bus stops closest to your class. If you require more detailed information about bus routes, call OC Transpo at Access OC Hotline at 613-842-3625 (TTY: 613-741-5280) or plan your trip using the OC Transpo Travel Planner.  

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Other physical activity options

What are some other exercise programs for older adults in Ottawa?

There are many opportunities to be physically active in your neighbourhood. Programs are offered through the City of Ottawa, community centres and fitness centres.

For those who qualify, fee subsidies are available for some programs offered through the City of Ottawa.

If you are not strong enough to participate in the Better Strength, Better Balance! program, please call  Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 or visit the Champlain Healthline website to explore safer options. 

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