YMCA offers option for improving personal wellness

Okanagan YMCA can help create a health lifestyle exercise campaign in a fun gym environment.

Chris Ogilvie.

October is an excellent time of year to refocus attention on our health and wellbeing.

After a long summer filled with company and often less than healthy food choices, fall routines can be a welcome reprieve.

However, for many, it isn’t always as easy as jumping back into a gym environment or going for a run. If you have ailments or you have never been to a gym before, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

For Chris Ogilvie, it was simply a matter of stepping out of her comfort zone and trying something new. Ogilvie decided to attend one of Kelowna Family YMCA’s Health Assessments for age 50 and above and was surprised to see the community of participants who attended regularly; some almost daily.

She had a nice time and learned so much about her own personal health and wellbeing that she decided to participate in a seven day trial at the Kelowna Family YMCA. During her free week she met new people, received a personalized workout plan and was surprised at how helpful everyone was.

“I had never come to a gym before,” Ogilvie explained. “I am not that brave at times, but my fitness coach, Collin Polmear, took me under his wing and helped me feel more comfortable.

“There is always someone to help me if I need it and I am finding exercise truly helps my COPD and rheumatoid arthritis.”

Since then, Ogilvie has been coming to the YMCA four times a week. She participates in the YMCA’s Breathe Well program on Tuesdays and Thursdays, does Deepwater Aquafit on Fridays, and on Mondays she does a combination of her own work out and Deepwater Aquafit.

“I’ve always been scared of water,” Ogilvie said. “That’s a big one for me. One of the fitness instructors, Sandie Cale, convinced me to try the pool and spent a half hour with me in there, which was really helpful. If it wasn’t for her taking that time, I wouldn’t be in the pool today.”

Now aquatics programs are a part of Ogilvie’s regular routine.

“I like the pool,” she noted.  “It’s good for me and I’m getting a little braver each time. We go camping a lot and I will now go in the water.”

To Ogilvie’s surprise, her newfound health routines are making daily activities easier.

“Exercising really helps,” Ogilvie said. “I never really thought it would. I didn’t have any expectations, but boy it is so important. It makes moving easier.

“Because of my arthritis, I would sometimes look at the stairs in my building and think, ‘I’m not going up that today,’ but now I don’t have any problem going up and down the stairs.”

On top of the physical benefits, Ogilvie also attends the YMCA’s monthly Mingle Monday sessions which are a great way for individuals over the age of 50 to get out of their homes and connect with others. Social isolation can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.

At the YMCA, social inclusivity is just as important as physical activity, which is why the charity continues to encourage seniors to attend this free community program.

“The YMCA is a place where everyone belongs,” said YMCA senior manager of health and fitness, Kelley Taylor. “We believe the negative effects of social isolation can be just as detrimental to our health as being inactive.

“Our facilities are centers of community. They are inclusive spaces where people can focus on their holistic health; body, mind and spirit.”

And Ogilvie agrees. For her, the YMCA is just as much a social community as it is a health facility.

“Coming to the Y gets me out of my house,” said Ogilvie. “Once you get to my age and you’re not working, you don’t’ see a lot of people. This helps me get out and meet people, and everyone is so wonderful here.”

The YMCA of Okanagan has options for everyone to fall back into health this season.

With free Health Assessments for those age 50 and above in October and November, over 80 group fitness classes for all ages, and the new fall kids programs, no matter your age or your stage, you will find something at the YMCA to help you prioritize your health.

Take that first step. Learn more about all that the Y has to offer at both the Kelowna Family YMCA and H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre at ymcaokanagan.ca.

“It’s the Y,” said Ogilvie. “It’s not a gym. Well it is, but it is so much more.”