Leon Avenue Kelowna resident James Funshaw says it’s great having the new Downtown Y in the Interior Health Building in Kelowna.—Alistair Waters/Capital News

New downtown Kelowna Y opens

Gym in Interior Health building already proving popular with area residents.

The new Downtown YM-YWCA is officially open.

While the popular facility on the ground floor of the Interior Health Building at Ellis Street and Doyle Avenue in Kelowna has been open for a few months, the official cake-cutting took place Wednesday—followed by workouts on the myriad of new exercise equipment available at the gym.

Karlene Sewell, general manger of health initiative for the YM-YWCA of the Central Okanagan said the downtown location is already proving popular with many area residents who have taken out memberships and are benefiting from equipment, programs and health advice for all.

“We are a mission-oriented centre,” she said, adding staff at the gym use what she called “evidence-based” coaching to help people improve their fitness. “We don’t just say ‘here, do this.’”

And she said a facility like that is needed downtown. A recent study found only 20 per cent of Canadians are currently getting the 150 minutes a week of exercise recommended for a healthy lifestyle.

“We officially have a pandemic of inactivity in this country,” said Sewell.

One of the many reasons, she said, is people have very busy lives. But much of the activity that keeps them from exercising is done sitting down. And that’s a big part of the problem.

“So a lot of what we do here is help people fit exercise into their busy lives.”

And it appears to the Y is a welcome arrival in the downtown core.

Leon Avenue resident James Funshaw, working out on treadmill on Wednesday, said he loves having the Y so close to his home.

“I walk here, work out and walk home,” he said. “It’s very handy.”

Sewell said with the downtown area growing as a residential spot in the city, she expects the facility will continue grow in popularity.

And, she added, being located in the Interior Health Building, it is also convenient for patients who need to be treated there too.