Better Strength, Better Balance! Exercise Program

Please note that his program is no longer being offered

Regular physical activity can help older adults age well and maintain their independence. 

Here are some opportunities to exercise at home. 

  • Rogers TV offers the Better Strength, Better Balance! exercise classes 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 most days during the week. Check out Rogers TV schedule.    
  • Download or print strength and balance  from Ottawa Public Health. Try to do strength and balance exercises at least 2 days a week. 
  • There are a variety of exercise videos for older adults on-line.  We recommend the In motion older adult exercise video .  This exercise video will lead you through a complete exercise class comprised of a warm-up, cardio, strength & balance, cool down and stretch.  All exercises can be executed in either a sitting or standing position.   
 Why not try the Step with confidence program? 

The Step with Confidence Program Series is broken into 3 steps or “levels” that progressively increase in intensity, resistance and cardiovascular requirements. Step 1 is similar to the Better Strength, Better Balance! program's intensity.

 

Browse and Register for all recreation and culture classes, activities and programs

 

These steps offer something suitable for every level of adults 50+!

Step 1 (similar to Better Strength, Better Balance!)

These programs and classes are offered at a lesser intensity

  • Strength and Balance Older Adult - Lite

  • Stretch and Strength Older Adult - Lite (Heart Wise Exercise)

  • Stretch Older Adult

  • Cardio and Strength Older Adult (Heart Wise Exercise)

  • Aqua General - Lite

Step 2

These programs and classes offer a variety of lower intensity to moderate intensity challenges

  • Balance and Stability Older Adult (Heart Wise Exercise)

  • Strength Traning Older Adult (small group)

  • Stretch and Strength 50+

  • Cardio Older Adult - Lite

  • Yoga Older Adult - Lite

  • Pilates Older Adult - Lite

Step 3

These programs are not considered for beginners but those looking to improve their existing level of fitness

  • Pilates Older Adult

  • Nordic Walking Older Adult

  • Yoga Older Adult (Heart Wise Exercise)

  • Party On Older Adult

  • Total Muscle Conditioning (TMC) Older Adult

  • Zumba Gold Older Adult

Click here for alternative options

 

Resources 

Check your risk for falling

Man looking sitting with laptop

Check your risk for falling

Public health units and agencies within the Champlain Local Health Integration Network have adopted a self-screening tool called "The Staying Independent Checklist". An older adult or their caregiver can complete and identify their risk for having a fall. They are encouraged to discuss their results with their health care provider. 

Check your risk of falling with the Staying Independent Checklist [361 KB]

You CAN prevent falls [374 KB] 

Taking Care of My Health: Falls Prevention video campaign.

One in four seniors fall each year.  It is estimated that there are 200,000 annual visits to Ottawa emergency rooms related to falls, most of which involve older adults (Burden of Injury, 2010).

  • Most falls are preventable.
  • Ottawa Public Health's "Taking Care of My Health" Falls Prevention video campaign was created to increase public awareness of falls in older adults and encourage healthy and safe behaviours to reduce this risk.

The following videos highlight the importance of:

  • Strength and balance exercises
  • Preventing a fall in your home
  • Reporting a fall to your health care provider
  • Including calcium and vitamin D for strong bones
Keeping your bones healthy

Calcium and vitamin D are good for your bones and more...

  • Calcium helps your heart, muscles and nerves work properly.

  • Your body needs vitamin D to absorb and use calcium.

Get your calcium from food

  • Try to eat at least 3 servings of foods high in calcium every day.

  • Calcium is more enjoyable and more easily absorbed from food than from a supplement (pill).

  • You may need a supplement if you do not eat at least 3 servings of foods high in calcium a day.

  • Talk to your health care provider before taking a calcium supplement. It should not be taken with certain medications. Getting too much calcium can cause health problems like constipation and kidney stones.

Take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU every day, if you are over 50

  • You also need to eat foods that contain vitamin D.

  • Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods but it is in fatty fish, egg yolk and liver. That's why vitamin D is added to some foods like cow's milk, some orange juice, soy, almond or rice beverages, and margarine.

  • If you don't eat enough good quality sources of vitamin D, you may need a stronger supplement. Talk to your health care provider about it.

Something you can do...

  • Read labels to find good sources of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Add skim milk powder or evaporated milk to your recipes.
  • Try margarine on your toast and in recipes for added vitamin D.
  • Replace a coffee or tea with a latte or hot chocolate for extra calcium and vitamin D. 

Mission Healthy Bones [167 KB]

Mission Healthy Bones!

Calcium and vitamin D are important for strong bones and teeth!

How much do you need?

Age
(years)

Calcium
(mg per day)

Vitamin D
(IU per day)

51 to 70

1200

600

71 and +

1200

800

51 to 70

1000

600

71 and +

1200

800

How do you do this?

  • Try to get at least 3 good sources of calcium and vitamin D rich foods each day.
  • Check the list below for good sources of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Complete your diet by taking a daily 400 IU vitamin D supplement.
  • Talk to your health care provider about supplementation if you think your diet may not be rich enough in calcium and/or vitamin D.

Grain products

  • Usually not a great source of vitamin D. 
  • Cereals eaten with milk or fortified beverage will have extra calcium and 
    vitamin D.
  • A few cereals are now enriched with vitamin D, so check the label.
  • Using margarine with a grain product will increase vitamin D.
Food ItemCalcium (mg)Vitamin D (IU)
Some vitamin D fortified cereals - 1 serving with 125 mL (1/2 cup)  1%  milk 160-350 100
Breakfast cereals - 1 serving with 125 mL (1/2 cup)  1% milk 160-350 50
Whole wheat toast - 2 slices 90 0
With margarine - 5 mL (1 tsp) 90 25
With butter - 5 mL (1 tsp) 90 1

Milk and alternatives

  • All cow's milk is fortified with vitamin D and is a natural source of calcium. 
    Some beverages (soy, almond, rice) can be fortified with calcium and vitamin D.  Check the label.
  • Foods made with cow's milk may not be fortified with vitamin D (yogurt, cheese, buttermilk).  Check the label. 
Food ItemCalcium (mg)Vitamin D (IU)
Evaporated skim milk-reconstituted - 250 mL (1 cup) 392 116
1% milk (cow)- white or chocolate - 250 mL (1 cup) 320 100
Skim milk powder - 25 g ( 1/3 cup) will make 250 mL (1 cup) of milk 320 100
Eggnog - 250 mL (1 cup) 350 44
Fortified soy, almond or rice beverages - 250 mL (1 cup) 320 90
Yogurt, fortified - 175 mL (¾ cup) 300 80
Cheese - firm (Cheddar, Swiss, Gouda) - 25 g (2.5 oz) 360 3
Kefir - 175 mL (3/4 cup) 187 8

Vegetables and fruit

  • Most vegetables and fruits are not a significant source of calcium and vitamin D unless fortified.
  • A few exceptions are listed below.
Food ItemCalcium (mg)Vitamin D (IU)
Fortified orange juice - 125 mL  (½ cup) 155 50
Collards- frozen and cooked - 125 mL (1/2 cup) 189 0
Spinach- frozen and cooked -125 mL (1/2 cup) 154 0

Meat and alternatives

  • The more fatty the fish, the more vitamin D you get. 
  • Canned fish with bones adds extra calcium, as long as you eat the bones! 
Food ItemCalcium (mg)Vitamin D (IU)
Salmon - canned with bones - 75 g (2.5 oz) 179 200-699*
Salmon - baked, grilled, pan fried - 75 g (2.5 oz) 5 200-699*
Mackerel - canned - 75 g (2.5 oz) 181 218
Sardines - canned with oil -75 g (2.5 oz) 286 70
Herring pickled - 75 g (2.5 oz) 60 200
Herring - Atlantic, cooked - 75 g (2.5 oz) 56 160
Trout - baked, grilled, pan fried - 75 g (2.5 oz) 41 150
Whitefish, lake - cooked - 75 g (2.5 oz) 12 135
Eggs yolks - 2 44 32
Light tuna - canned tuna - 75 g (2.5 oz) 8 40
Beef liver - pan fried - 75 g (2.5 oz) 4 36
Almonds - 60 mL (¼ cup ) 99 0
Almond butter - 30 mL (2 tbsp) 90 0
Baked beans - canned-185 mL (¾ cup) 64 0

*Amount of vitamin D varies with the type of salmon. Sockeye has the most.

Miscellaneous (mixed ingredients)

  • Adding calcium and vitamin D rich ingredients to your favorite food is a great way to get more of these nutrients! 
Food ItemCalcium (mg)Vitamin D (IU)
Fruit smoothie - made with 125 mL (½ cup) of milk,  125 mL fortified orange juice and 125 mL yogurt) 500 140
Grilled cheese sandwich 434 35
Instant breakfast - 250 mL (1 cup) made with milk or fortified beverage 363 90
Café Latte, made with 250 mL (1 cup) milk 320 100
Black coffee or tea 0 0
Salmon salad sandwich 220 150
Prepared canned tomato soup (with milk) - 250 mL (1 cup) 200 50
Pudding made with milk or fortified beverage - 125 mL (1/2 cup) 141 52
Blackstrap molasses - 15 mL (1 tbsp) 180 0
Margarine - 5 mL (1 tsp) 1 25

Reference: Canadian Nutrient File 2010

For more information call 613-580-6744 to speak with our public health staff or e-mail us at healthsante@ottawa.ca

Continue to be active

In addition to your twice weekly strength and balance classes, it is important to engage in aerobic physical activity at least 2.5 hours a week (5 x 30 min).To gain maximum benefit, it is important that you do your home exercises daily.

Adults age 65 and older are encouraged to participate in a variety of physical activities that are enjoyable, safe, and get their bodies moving and hearts pumping.  Regular movement can help older adults age well and maintain independence.

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