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Developed by the New Zealand Falls Prevention Research Group, the Otago Exercise Program (OEP) originated at the University of Otago, in Otago, New Zealand.

A physical therapist leads a woman through an Otago exercise.
A physical therapist leads a woman through an Otago exercise.
  • The OEP is proven to decrease falls and fall-related injuries in high-risk older adults. What’s more, it also helps reduce the risk of mortality.
  • Many consider the program to be one of the best fall prevention programs for high-risk older adults and for older adults starting fall risk management.
  • The OEP has been validated and proven effective when delivered in multiple settings such as skilled nursing, long-term care, assisted living, outpatient, and online.
  • The program proves effective when delivered in both an individual or group format.
  • Tailored to each individual, this program helps prevent falls by building balance and strength.
  • Physical therapists lead OEP participants through the 52-week exercise course. During the course, the exercises become progressively more challenging.
  • Participants can do the exercises and walking in either in a group setting, at home, or in a combination of group classes and home.

Learn more about the OEP from the following resources:

Otago Exercise Program Manual

Referral to and Billing for Otago

NCOA Otago Exercise Program Guidance Statement


Become an Otago Trainer

The Otago Exercise Program Training for Physical Therapists online course was developed in conjunction with the CDC’s Injury Center to train physical therapists in the OEP. Over 8,300 PTs from 18 countries have completed this online training. Learn more or register for our self-paced Otago online training course.

The course offers three CEUs and only costs $50. A short online course shows how to incorporate the Otago exercises into the activities of daily living. Use this form 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.

Learn more about Physical Therapist Guidelines for Virtual Visits.

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.

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 Centers for Disease Control, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Project, and the Administration for Community Living in 16 states all promote The Otago Exercise Program.

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.