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Strength for Life

Strength for Life

What is the Strength for Life program?

Strength for Life is a valuable exercise program in the ACT, created to help people over the age of 50 (over 40 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders) improve their physical strength, fitness and social connection.

Funding in 2019 from the Australian Government’s Move it AUS – Better Ageing Grant Program enabled COTA to expand into the ACT. Since then, there have been over 200 people participating in Strength for Life classes each week in different locations around Canberra.

Strength for Life is a progressive training program designed to improve a participant’s strength, balance, coordination, endurance and mobility.

Other likely benefits of the program may include:

  • Reduced risk of falls
  • Preventing or managing arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease
  • Speeding up recovery from illness
  • Reducing lower back pain
  • Improved ability to undertake daily living tasks
  • Opportunities for social interaction
  • Improvement in self-esteem and mental wellbeing

COTA ACT has trained qualified and experienced exercise professionals to deliver the program.  Classes are held in facilities such as fitness centres, physio and exercise clinics, retirement villages, community organisations and community centres.

The ongoing classes are capped at 15 people per class, and the cost of the assessments and classes is designed to be affordable.

Participants may also be able to access rebates through their health fund, home care package or NDIS funding.

The Strength for Life program offers two tiers:

Tier 1 – delivered by accredited exercise physiologists and physiotherapists who work with people with chronic conditions. Baseline and follow up testing is conducted to develop and monitor an individualised program for each participant.

Tier 2 – progressive strength training sessions are delivered in a group setting by accredited fitness professionals. Although the sessions are delivered in groups, individualised strength training programs are developed for each participant.

Strength for Life Referral Form (Tier 1 & 2)

Strength for Life Referral Form (Allied Health)

Prior to starting the program, all participants are required to:

For enquiries regarding becoming a Strength for Life Provider or Instructor and for more information on a class near you please fill in the Strength for Life EOI and email to

For enquiries regarding:

  • instructor training dates
  • participating in Strength for Life classes, and
  • general enquiries

Email or or call Diane Percy (Strength for Life Coordinator) at COTA ACT office on 02 6282 3777.

We have put together a Strength-for-Life-FAQs form for you to refer to if required. 

Strength for Life FAQs

Falls Risk Assessments

The Fallscreen© risk calculator is a single assessment of vision, peripheral sensation, lower limb strength, reaction time and body sway.
A computer software program assess each person’s performance in relation to the normative database complied from large population studies. The program produces a falls risk assessment report for each person which includes the following four components:
• a graph indicating the person’s overall falls risk score,
• a profile of individual test performance results,
• a table indicating individual test performances in relation to age-matched norms,
• a written report which explains the results and makes recommendations and referrals to a health professional or appropriate strength and balance program.

The assessment takes up to 30 minutes to complete, and results are available within one week of the assessment. Assessments are conducted at the Hughes Community Centre and on occasion at licensed Strength for Life provider locations. Please call 02 6282 3777 or email

Learn more about the falls risk assessments we provide via the button below.

Your Home Care or Commonwealth Home Support Package could strengthen your life

If you are receiving a Commonwealth Home Care Package or a Commonwealth Home Support Package you could be eligible to include the Strength for Life (SFL) program as part of your suite of activities.

SFL is an affordable, safe and effective way to maintain or improve your strength, balance, mobility and social connections. Participating in a SFL session may help improve your health and fitness as well as your social life. Your personalised program is delivered in a group environment where you can get to know other people and improve your strength in a supportive atmosphere.

Home Care and Support Packages are one of the ways that older Australians can access affordable care services to get help at home. Depending on the level of Package you receive, you can get assistance with a range of different services including the SFL program.

Speak to your package provider today to see if you are eligible!

If you have a question about the SFL program email

For more information about what Package services you can receive, visit the Australian Government’s MyAgedCare website.

Strength for Life providers in the ACT

In the ACT there are instructors accredited to deliver the SFL program. The instructors are either personal trainers, exercise physiologists or physiotherapists. The SFL instructors deliver the program for a licensed SFL provider. The SFL providers are the life blood of the program and are what make the program tick! With providers dotted around Canberra, this enables the SFL program to be accessible to more senior Canberrans more often.

Contact the following providers to register your interest in attending Strength for Life classes at their location.

LDK Greenway Views

SportsTec Clinic

Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT

  • COTA ACT  – Hughes
  • Phone: 02 6282 3777
  • Email
  • Contact person: Diane Percy

Higher Function Physio & Pilates

The Henry

Canberra Health Network (City)

Canberra Health Network (Gungahlin)

  • Gungahlin Scout Hall, 5 The Valley Ave, Gungahlin
  • Phone: (02) 6247 0733
  • Email
  • Contact person: Jarrad

Empower Better Health (Gungahlin)

  • Gungahlin Club Lime Platinum, 35 Crinigan Circuit, Gungahlin
  • Phone: 6140 3282
  • Email
  • Contact person: Jaz and Shelly

Empower Better Health (Dickson)

  • Empower Better Health, North Building, Level 2/23 Challis St, Dickson ACT 2602
  • Phone: 6140 3282
  • Email
  • Contact person: Jaz and Shelly

Join the Strength for Life Facebook group

During the COVID-19 self-isolation period we kept older Canberrans active through a free online exercise program offered via the Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT Facebook page. We encouraged Strength for Life participants (and anyone who was keen to join) to take up this free opportunity to keep moving and to remain physically active while isolated.

We also ran a program called Move in May which was set up for the same purpose of keeping senior Canberrans active during self-isolation. As part of this program we created a Facebook group called Strength for Life – Move in May. We have recently changed the name of the Facebook group to just Strength for Life ACT and encourage those that are participating and interested in participating in the program to join the online group.

How to join the Strength for Life ACT Facebook group, follow these easy steps:

  1.  Go to the COTA ACT Facebook page and ‘like’ the page.
  2. Once you have ‘liked’ the page you will receive notifications and reminders of other exercise programs and events we run.
  3. Then go to the Strength for Life ACT Facebook group and request to be a member of the group.
  4. Staff at COTA ACT will receive a notification of your interest to join the group.

Keep your eye out for motivational messages from the Strength for Life team at COTA ACT on the Strength for Life ACT Facebook group. Be one of the many older Canberrans participating in this popular Facebook group and program.