U-ExCEL is an auxiliary program of the Division of Geriatrics that contracts with Piper Shores Life Care Retirement Community 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 Piper Shores community, including their Holbrook Center (nursing home, assisted living, and memory care living environments). U-ExCEL encompasses individuals’ health and fitness goals along with 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 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. Although this council is no longer in place, U-ExCEL has advanced its techniques and high standards in working with older people. Below are some of the different programs offered through U-ExCEL.


The following weekly at-home workouts are free to use. Each workout includes three classes — Strength and Balance, Core Dynamics, and Sit and Fit. There is a PDF of instructions for each class as well as links to corresponding YouTube videos. Each workout offers three options based on ability level.

View our at-home workouts webpage

Balancing Act

The Balancing Act program is an evidence-informed 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 older adults regardless of level of ability. It encompasses the individual’s health and fitness goals along with their functional abilities to improve or maintain physical 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 carepartners.

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 may be 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 is 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 is 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 that 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.