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Level 1 - Foundation

These exercises suit people who:

  • walk slowly

  • use a walking aid

  • feel unsteady while walking and picking things up from the ground

  • have medical conditions that limit activity

  • get some help with housework and other
    activities such as shopping

Older woman walking with wheeled frame

Some examples of exercises are below. Remember it's important to exercise safely. A physiotherapist can help you decide how to start exercising safely. A little bit of exercise more often may work best.

The Safe Exercise at Home website also provides tips on how much exercise you should do and how to stay motivatedThis website is not intended to replace individual health professional care. If you have any concerns or questions about what you can safely do, you should seek professional advice from your doctor, physiotherapist, or other health professional with expertise in exercise prescription.

Level 1 exercises

Level 1 exercise videos can be found at the bottom of this page. You can find exercise tips and ideas here. You can also read some stories about how others like you are staying active at home.
  • Try and be physically active for 5 minutes every hour (eg walking once round your whole house or living area)

  • Use the kitchen bench for stability to do exercises such as walking sideways or marching up and down on the spot

  • Put some music on for motivation

  • Use television advertisement breaks to exercise


Cardiovascular exercise

​Do these exercises three to five times a day:

  • Stand up from your chair 10 times

  • Use the kitchen bench for stability and rise up onto your toes

  • Stand at your kitchen sink and march on the spot for 1 minute

Strength and balance exercises

Level 1 ex videos

Links to online exercise options

NHS Inform has a list of strength and balance exercises for people at Level 1. There is also a brief video to help you determine the best level of exercise to start with. Note that the ‘Telecare’ option is only available in the UK.

If you are using a mobile or tablet, the below videos may take a little longer to load

Exercise TOP UP Level 1a Foundation


Rik Dawson (physiotherapist and Safe Exercise at Home team member) introduces older people to easy strengthening and balance exercises to reduce falls based on the Otago Exercise Program. 

Exercise TOP UP Level 1b Building


Rik Dawson (physiotherapist and Safe Exercise at Home team member) demonstrates a 30 minute exercise program that builds strength and balance for older people based on the Otago Exercise Program. 

Homestrong Exercise tips


This is a 10 minute video with exercises you can do at home. Make sure a sturdy support (table/bench or sturdy chair is close). The last exercise in video #1 is standing on one leg while holding on to a sturdy support. This may be too difficult. Instead, try standing with your feet close together (you can make it easier by increasing the distance between your feet).

TOP UP Zumba (seated) 


This is a 30 minute seated Zumba exercise program designed for older people by Rik Dawson (physiotherapist and Safe Exercise at Home team member). This video will complement any recreational activity program in aged care.

Seated Physio TOP UP exercises 


Rik Dawson (physiotherapist and Safe Exercise at Home team member) introduces older people to easy strengthening exercises to be done in a chair. This exercise program is suitable for older people living in residential aged care and requires minimal supervision.

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