Program Types

Descriptions of Program Types

Following is a brief description of each of the exercise program types, for your information.

Stepping On

The Stepping On program is a free program where older people attend regular group sessions facilitated by local specialist health professionals and invited guest speakers.

Stepping On is designed for people who are living at home and who have fallen or are fearful of falling. Participants must be able to walk by themselves or with a walking stick.

This program, which was developed in NSW, is considered to be one of the most effective falls prevention programs available, giving people the confidence to undertake their everyday activities safely. Participation in a program like Stepping On will help older people maintain independence and give them confidence in their mobility so they are able to undertake their everyday activities safely and without the risk of falling.

The program covers a range of topics, including vision, medicines and practical exercises to improve strength and balance. The group-based sessions run for two hours a week for seven weeks, followed by a refresher session three months later.


The following description is an excerpt from

Heart Foundation Heartmoves is a gentle physical activity program suitable for anyone who hasn't done any exercise in a while. You can exercise at your own pace in a friendly atmosphere.

Heartmoves is open to everyone and is designed to be safe for people with stable long term health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or obesity.

Heartmoves is run by accredited exercise professionals specifically trained in managing safe, low to moderate intensity physical activity programs.

Taking part in regular Heartmoves sessions can help:

  • lower blood pressure
  • improve cholesterol
  • control/manage weight
  • improve well being and quality of life
  • manage diabetes
  • improve balance and flexibility
  • improve sleep
  • improve bone mineral density with arthritis management
  • prevent falls and injuries from falls

Tai Chi

Tai Chi can be described as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined.

There are a number of forms of Tai Chi including Chen, Yang, Sun, Wu, Woo and Dong Yue.

Tai Chi consists of a sequence of movements performed softly and gracefully, with smooth, even transitions between them. Anyone, regardless of age or level of fitness, can practice and benefit from Tai Chi.

Due to its balance focus, Tai Chi is recognised as one of the best exercise you can do to prevent a fall.

Gentle Exercise

For the purpose of this directory, the term "gentle exercise" has been used to describe any program whose movements are simple and easy. As a general rule, gentle exercises classes do not contain running, jumping or other similar fast movements.

Older people who have had difficulty getting out of chairs, or have difficulty walking can benefit from gentle exercise, and be more active and happier as a result.

Gentle exercise improves muscle strength and flexibility which, when combined with balance exercises, can significantly reduce your risk of a fall.


For the purpose of this directory, the term "dance" has been used to describe any style of dance such as ballroom, line dancing, ballet, modern, jazz and old time, to name but a few.

Dancing improves muscle strength and flexibility as well as balance, so can significantly reduce your risk of a fall.


Yoga is about creating balance in the body by developing flexibility and strength through the performance of poses or postures.

There are many different styles of yoga such as Hatha (slow-paced and gentle), Vinyasa (a more vigorous style), Ashtanga & Power Yoga (fast-paced, intense style), and Iyengar (focus on body alignment) to name but a few.

Yoga improves muscle strength and flexibility as well as balance, so can significantly reduce your risk of a fall.


Pilates is a series of nonimpact exercises designed by Joseph Pilates to develop strength, flexibility, balance, and inner awareness.

Pilates is a form of strength and flexibility training that can be done by someone at any level of fitness.

Pilates is helpful in preventing and rehabilitating from injuries, improving posture, and increasing flexibility, circulation, and balance, so can significantly reduce your risk of a fall.

Qi Gong

Qi Gong is a Chinese practice of cultivating the body's internal energy.

Qi Gong incorporates physical postures, breathing patterns and movements that influence the entire body.

Qi Gong is designed to enhance the flow and connection of Qi (Energy) resulting in increased strength, flexibility and balance, and reduced stress levels.


The term "other" has been used to describe any program that does not easily fit into one of the above categories.

Please note that, generally, program types have been classified by the Program Providers themselves.