Skip to main content

The Otago Exercise Program is designed as a form of falls-prevention. It helps prevent falls in older adults by strengthening muscles and improving balance. Learn about the history of Otago.

Current Otago Participants

Participants should perform their OEP exercises three times a week. Also, participants should walk (in a safe and appropriate location) three times a week for up to thirty minutes. Participants can support each other’s participation virtually in the program, track progress, and share successes using emails, texts, phone calls, or video chats.

Participants should continue on their current schedule and share their progress using email, texts, or phone calls with the supporting professional (the prescribing physical therapist or the supporting fitness professional or community provider). Virtual visits with a physical therapist following the Otago schedule should occur before progressing the exercises.

View the Otago Exercise Program Manual here

2023 Otago Exercise Program Guidance Statement

Physical Therapist Guidelines

When offering virtual visits, PTs should follow their agency’s policies. These may include recommendations for HIPPA compliant videoconferencing platforms. In addition, individual or group exercise classes can be offered online. We encourage providers to obtain signed waivers of liability from participants that are approved by their agency prior to joining an online exercise class. The waiver should acknowledge that some safety risks are possible, as is the case in any exercise class.

New Otago Participants

PTs can perform virtual assessments for new participants. We strongly recommend that a caregiver be present to help spot the individuals during the exercises. This caregiver should either be someone who lives with the participant or who has been in the home routinely. This will help minimize the chance of COVID-19 infection. This virtual assessment should be done with both visual and voice connection. Lastly, participants should sign an agency waiver acknowledging safety concerns.

COVID‐19: Guidance for Program Delivery

To all healthcare providers, fitness professionals, and trained community providers who support older adults in the Otago Exercise Program: Given the social distancing measures still in place in some areas, we recommend that individuals stop participation in face-to-face group or community OEP classes and continue their exercise program at home. Providers working with patients are expected to use good clinical judgement at all times. In some cases, this may supersede the recommendations specified in this guidance.


Reimbursement for therapy services for telerehabilitation is changing rapidly during this pandemic. It is the responsibility of the rehabilitation provider to investigate payment, and comply with licensure and legal requirements in their state. Please follow these changes through information provided by the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Best Practices

We highly recommend that you ensure the following before providing a telehealth visit:

  • Verify your patient’s identity
  • Understand reimbursement guidelines and required documentation
  • Review your state practice act to ensure that you can provide telerehabilitation under your license
  • Contact your malpractice insurance provider to ensure that your insurance covers care provided under telehealth
  • Use a HIPAA-compliant telehealth interface (Currently, many insurance companies are loosening this requirement, but it will not stay that way; planning now can be beneficial)
  • Review an informed consent form with the participants then have them sign it


Things to ensure are in place for a successful telehealth visit:

  • Participant access to a visual and voice interface with the provider
  • Available wireless services with good connectivity
  • A suitable environment at home to complete the activities

For those exercising at home, here are resources to support your efforts:

  1. Demonstration of Strength Videos
  2. Demonstration of Balance Exercises
  3. Example Otago Exercise Program Videos – These are a series of 4 videos (20‐30 minutes each) that lead participants through an Otago Program including warm up, strength, and balance exercises

Course Description

Find out more about our newly revised self-paced online training: 3 CEUs only $50. A new short online course is also available to show how the Otago exercises can be done as part of activities of daily living. Over 8,300 PTs from 18 countries have completed our online training. Click Here to submit a justification for CEUs to your local CEU granting agency.

The CGWEP also supports the Community Health and Mobility Partnership (CHAMP) program which uses the Otago Exercises.

Otago: A Worldwide Movement

The Otago Exercise ProgramFall has trained health care professionals in 29 countries! Otago is a series of 17 strength and balance exercises delivered by a Physical Therapist in the home that reduces falls between 35% and 40% for frail older adults. Developed in New Zealand, this evidence-based program calls for PTs to assess, coach, and progress patients over the course of six months to one year.

Recent research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention shows statistically significant improvement in clinical scores after as little as 8 weeks.1

The Otago Exercise Program is being promoted by the Centers for Disease Control, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Project, and the Administration for Community Living in 16 states.

Find an Otago trained Therapist here

1 Shubert, T. E., M. L. Smith, L. Jiang and M. G. Ory (2016). “Disseminating the Otago Exercise Program in the United States: Perceived and Actual Physical Performance Improvements From Participants.” J Appl Gerontol.