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UNE-Exercise and Conditioning for Easier Living

U-ExCEL is an auxiliary program of the Division of Geriatrics that contracts with area organizations and housing environments to provide fitness and wellness programming and education.

U-ExCEL is a functional fitness program that promotes the broad spectrum of health for older adults living in the community, in nursing homes, assisted living settings, or in independent housing on life care campuses. U-ExCEL encompasses individuals' health and fitness goals along with current medical diagnoses to improve or maintain function through the provision of functional fitness techniques including strength, balance, endurance, nutrition and other supportive wellness interventions.

UNE student research, scholarship and student training are advanced at U-ExCEL sites. 


U-ExCEL was named the winner of the 2010 and 2012 Maine Governor’s Council for Physical Activity Award in the Special Populations Category. Here are some of the different programs we operate through U-ExCEL: 

Balancing Act: The Balancing Act program is an evidence-based balance enhancement program for anyone wanting to improve their balance, stability and reduce the threat of falls. Balancing Act has an easy-to-use manual that was designed with the assistance of older adults and those with vision impairments. The manual is available in audio, video and print (including large print) formats.

At “HOME” (Healthy Outcomes from Managed Exercise): This is a flexible — yet structured — one-on-one program for nursing home, assisted living, or independent living older adults. It encompasses current medical diagnoses and the individual’s health and fitness goals to improve or maintain function. In addition, At "HOME" has a component for corresponding with residents’ primary care physicians so communication about exercise participation is known to the health care providers. At "HOME" also includes family caregivers.

Sit and Fit: This group chair exercise program works muscles from head to toe to improve strength and flexibility while in a sitting position. This is a perfect program for people with balance issues or who are wheelchair reliant. Each class begins with a warm up and ends with a cool down.

Strength and Balance: This group exercise program addresses core body strength and utilizes weights to work on upper and lower body strength. A segment of the class is dedicated to conducting balance exercises. Each class begins with a warm up and ends with a cool down.

Health W.I.S.E (Wellness is Self Empowerment): This group discussion class shares information on healthy eating and exercising. Topics include reading food labels, motivation, goal setting, how to food shop wisely and weight loss.

Core Dynamics: This 30-minute strengthening class focuses on abdominal muscles, the back, hips and buttocks. The routine for the class is floor-based exercises (do not be discouraged by this) to help strengthen the essential muscles used for balance, stability and posture.

Movement to Music: This 30-minute upbeat, dance experience is body-charging, foot-stomping fun set to music. The class is designed to provide a full cardiovascular workout, by getting hearts pumping and generating some body heat. No dance experience or sense of rhythm necessary.

Tai Chi (for arthritis): This 45-minute class is slow, graceful and calming. It can provide many health benefits including balance improvement, stress reduction and arthritis pain relief. Tai Chi for arthritis is an evidence-based fall prevention program recommended by the CDC.

Water Walking: A water class designed for walking and incorporating different variations to involve the entire body. Participants are able to follow along easily while working on strength, flexibility and cardiovascular components.

Water Aerobics: A water class designed to incorporate a multitude of variations which engage the whole body. It is faster paced and more exerting than water walking. The exercises include a combination of cardiovascular, range of motion, flexibility and muscular strengthening.

Fitness Assessments: These 90-minute individual appointments review medical health history, medications and personal goals for health. Baseline measures such as heart rate, flexibility, strength, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, etc., are measured and applied to design a personal exercise program. The program may be shared with the individual’s Primary Care Physician upon request.

Personal Exercise Program: Following the Fitness Assessment (above), the Personal Exercise Program is a component of the At “HOME” Program, but is an independent program. Individuals opting for the Personal Exercise Program have a Fitness Assessment and a Personal Exercise Program designed that is goal-specific. The individual then conducts his/her own program without further supervision. The program may be shared with the individual’s Primary Care Physician upon request. 


Hannah LeBlanc
UNE U-ExCEL Fitness Specialist Hannah LeBlanc has taken her workout classes with residents at Piper Shores Lifecare Retirement Community entirely online amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

UNE ‘excels’ in providing workout services for older adults

In a typical work week, Hannah LeBlanc, B.S., makes daily trips to the Piper Shores Lifecare Retirement Community in Scarborough where, as a fitness specialist...