Moving for Better Balance

Moving for Better Balance is a 12-week evidence-based falls prevention program that uses the principles and movements of Tai Chi to help older adults increase their strength, improve their balance, and increase their confidence in doing everyday activities.

The program protocol consists of a core eight-form routine and a subroutine of eight integrated therapeutic movements forms that have been derived from the traditional 24-form Yang-style of Tai Chi, progressing from easy to more difficult which collectively involve a set of simple, rhythmic Tai Chi-based actions.

Led by a Moving for Better Balance trained instructor, this program focuses on improving mental cognitive and physical functional ability especially balance to reduce fall-related risks and fall frequency.

Participants receive an instruction book with lesson plans, tips on creating a safer home environment to prevent falls, and homework based on each week’s classwork.

Moving for Better Balance is recognized by the CDC, National Council on Aging, U.S. Administration on Aging, the Administration for Community Living, as well as various state falls prevention coalitions and departments of health and human services.

How It Reduces Risk of Falls

Evidence from rigorous scientific studies has clearly demonstrated that Moving for Better Balance is effective in improving balance and reducing falls. The course challenges limitations in balance and gait and addresses these limitations through a set of controlled, progressively designed exercises.

Our instructors' ability to engage, retain, and relate to participants has fostered outstanding results and improved not only improved balance reducing the frequency of falls among older adults.

The program also provides other health benefits that contribute to healthy aging in a safe structured environment that engages older adults in a social setting they may not have had previously.

Moving for Better Balance may also help alleviate the symptoms associated with other chronic diseases and conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, that may contribute to impaired balance and decreased mobility.

Classes are designed to provide participants with opportunities to interact with one another which creates an important support system, a stronger community, and supports the participants overall health goals and well-being.

Program Goals and Health Benefits

  • Improved social and mental well-being
  • Improved balance and physical performance
  • Improved confidence in conducting daily activities
  • Reduced risk of falling and sustaining fall injuries
  • Improved overall health
  • Maintained independence and improved quality of life
  • A decrease in blood pressure
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Improved cardiovascular and respiratory function

How It Works

Moving for Better Balance is designed primarily for:

  • community-living older adults who are age 65 or older, physically mobile with impaired stability and/or mobility
  • adults age 45 or older who have a chronic condition that may affect stability and/or mobility

Moving for Better Balance is conducted in a small group setting of 10-12 adults, providing a safe and comfortable environment. Sessions take place twice a week for 60 minutes, and continue for 12 weeks, supplemented by a 30-minute weekly at-home practice by each program participant.

Registration and Timing

Contact your closest YMCA for a brief prescreening. From there, interested and qualified participants will be added to the queue/waitlist. Days and times vary for each YMCA location.

Criteria for Participation

Moving for Better Balance is recommended for anyone who is at risk for falls. Potential participants must:

  • Be willing to engage in a 12-week falls prevention program
  • Consult their primary care physician before joining the program for medical clearance (see medical clearance form at the bottom of the page)
  • Have a strong personal desire and commitment to participate in the program (highly recommended to attend a minimum of 80% of classes).
  • Give permission for a Moving for Better Balance representative to contact their physician or healthcare provider if necessary.

Making an Impact

People who have participated in a Moving for Better Balance class have this to say about the difference it made:

“Moving for Better Balance has saved my life. Before this program, I was becoming increasingly afraid of falling as by body became more unsteady. The program has increased my confidence in walking in and around my home and community and I am now fall free!”

“As I approached age 60 my once-athletic body seemed to be falling apart and full of pain and immobility. I was beginning to trip and fall, becoming increasingly leery of engaging in the physical activity I once enjoyed. I gave up hope that I would ever be pain free, and again have the active life I had once led and accepted this must be what aging looks like. After learning about this new program, for the first time in years I had hope. In addition to the physical benefits of this class, the instructor’s knowledge and experience gave me a better understand what my body needs to be healthy, falls free and maintain mobility. Now I am playing golf, gardening, and hiking, pain free, and feel stronger and healthier than I have in 10 years. I cannot say enough good things about this class. The Moving for Better Balance program has literally been a quality-of-life saver.”

Find Out More

If you are interested and would like more information please click the Request More Information button below to request more information. Click the Download Interest Form button below to print and fill out the interest form. This form can then be mailed, faxed, or scanned and emailed to the YMCA of Western North Carolina.

To find out more, including criteria for participating and how to register, contact our Population Health team at 828 251 5910. You may fax the interest form to 828 774 5268.