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Staying Fit for the Future: Better Balance pilot project launches in Mayo

Date: 23-04-2024

Press Release April 20th 2024

Staying Fit for the Future: Better Balance pilot project launches in Mayo

A NEW initiative aimed at enhancing strength and balance in older adults is set to kick off this April in Mayo.

The Staying Fit for the Future: Better Balance programme, funded by the Health and Wellbeing Division of HSE Community Healthcare West (CHW), is a collaborative effort between Mayo Sports Partnership, HSE Mayo Primary Care Physiotherapy Department and HSE Health and Wellbeing, CHW.

The Better Balance pilot project offers a structured 10-week programme consisting of once-weekly group exercise classes, designed to improve strength and balance while providing participants with motivational strategies for continued progress at home. Designed by HSE physiotherapists and led by Mayo Sports Partnership exercise instructors, these classes will include aerobic warm-ups and a series of exercises targeting key components necessary for maintaining independent movement.

“This programme is specifically tailored for adults who are independently mobile, have no history of falls and want to challenge and train their balance to stay fit for the future,” says Edel O’Malley, physical activity for health officer at Mayo Sports Partnership. “If you're unsure whether this programme is suitable for you, try a simple balance and strength test: cross your arms across your chest, stand on one leg, and close your eyes. If you find your balance isn't as steady as it once was, this class is for you.”

Speaking at the launch, Ailish Houlihan, HSE self-management support coordinator, said: “The Health and Wellbeing Division in Community Healthcare West is delighted to support the roll-out of this preventative initiative. This programme will support adults to learn and practice strength and balance exercises so they can stay strong and steady on their feet, thereby helping them to maintain their independence and participation in society as they age.

“Recent HSE physical activity guidelines reinforce the importance of these types of activities for all age groups and in particular highlight the additional benefit of balance, strength and flexibility exercises for adults as they age.”

The project will commence with six programmes delivered across community venues in the North Mayo HSE Community Healthcare Network, including Ballina, Belmullet and Swinford. Following the pilot phase, the initiative aims to expand its reach to community halls and gyms throughout the county.

Also speaking about this new programme, Mayo Sports Partnership head Charlie Lambert commented: “Mayo Sports Partnership is delighted to support this initiative through our physical activity for health officer Edel O Malley. Collaboration is key in making projects like this a success and I would especially like to thank HSE Mayo Primary Care Physiotherapy Department, the HSE Health and Wellbeing Division and our colleagues in Cork Sports Partnership for all their help and advice in getting ‘Better Balance’ to our county.”

For more information about the Better Balance programme and how to get involved, please contact Edel O’Malley at

(Main Picture - Pictured at the Better Balance launch are Charlie Lambert, head coordinator, Mayo Sports Partnership; David McGrath, physiotherapy manager, HSE Mayo Primary Care; Ailish Houlihan, self-management support coordinator for Chronic Conditions, Health and Wellbeing Division, HSE Community Healthcare West; and Edel O’Malley, physical activity for health officer, Mayo Sports Partnership.)

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