Y programs help seniors stay healthy

“There’s so much more to YMCA programs than is written out on paper."

The Kelowna Family Y offers many programs that enable local seniors to stay active.

Seniors in the Okanagan can access fitness assessments, take yoga and AquaFit classes, have breathing problems addressed, or work on their heart or hip health—all at the Kelowna Y.

For a lot of seniors, getting out and staying fit can be a challenge. And as seniors age, it becomes more and more important to get regular exercise in order to maintain mobility, muscle mass, and overall health.

That’s why the Kelowna Family YMCA offers a broad range of programs to help seniors stay in great shape.

“We’ve offered options for seniors pretty much since the day we opened our doors,” said Adriane Long, health promotion and active living director for the Kelowna YMCA.

“Getting seniors active is very much about quality of life. It helps seniors to keep their independence in the community, and it helps to manage mood and prevent chronic disease.”

Seniors who attend the YMCA can take programs like AquaFit, which uses the resistance of water to strengthen muscles and improve cardiac health.

Long notes that AquaFit is particularly popular among seniors.

There’s also Fit For Life, a program designed to improve balance and prevent falls.

Long notes that of the participants who regularly attend the program, none have suffered a fall since they started.

The YMCA also offers Healthy Hearts, a twice-weekly cardiac health program designed to improve heart health.

A similar program, Healthy Hips and Knees, is designed for seniors who just had or are about to have hip or knee replacement surgery.

The program focuses on improving strength and flexibility, increasing endurance, and preventing falls with better balance.

“We also offer a program called Breathe Well for people who have respiratory conditions,” said Long.

“Right now it’s an Interior Health funded program. A physiotherapist comes in one day a week to work with people who have COPD.”

With so many different programs available, seniors will have no trouble keeping fit at the Y.

All of the YMCA’s senior programs are paid for through its standard membership dues, which run at $37 per month for anyone over the age of 65.

Couples can sign up a second member on the same plan for $32 per month. For seniors on a limited budget, though, fitness memberships can be expensive.

“The YMCA is a charity organization, and we’d never turn away anyone who can’t pay. We offer an assisted membership program, so those who can’t afford to be a member can apply for an assisted membership where the YMCA covers their dues.”

Assisted membership applications are available at all YMCA locations, and assisted membership dues are calculated based on total household income and the number of people living in the house.

“There’s so much more to YMCA programs than is written out on paper. The members who have been coming here for years and years feel like they’re part of a family,” Long said.