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Managing chronic health conditions in a community setting.

YMCA LiveWell is a series of supervised exercise and education programs delivered in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University. LiveWell helps individuals enhance their health while managing specific chronic health conditions and illness.

Please note that some programs require a physician referral.

YMCA LiveWell Partnership Programs

Do you suffer from lower back pain?

The YMCA has partnered with McMaster University to develop a program designed for low back pain. This programs twice a week for 12 weeks and includes the following:

  • Day 1: 45 minute functional group exercise class
  • Day 2: 45 minute individualized exercise program in the fitness centre
  • Virtual self-management educational sessions

The program is included in YMCA membership. Financial assistance is available.

There is an option to participate in a research study as part of this program. Those who do will receive the family rate for the duration of the study.

Registration is required.

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This 12-week community exercise program consists of two group exercise sessions each week to help build strength, balance, flexibility and endurance and reduce the risk of falls. The YMCA has partnered with the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to provide this program at our five YMCA locations in Hamilton, Burlington, Flamborough and Brantford. Space is limited to 35 participants.

Balance+ is included in the cost of membership. For non-members, the cost is $90.

This 12-week supervised exercise and education program is for people with any type of cancer at any stage. Whether you've been recently diagnosed, are in the middle of treatment or in remission, this 12-week exercise and education program can help. CanWell is offered through a partnership between the YMCA, Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University. You will be supported by specially-trained YMCA staff including a kinesiologist. Hamilton Health Sciences provides a physiotherapist and advance practice nurse.

Group exercise sessions can help you increase strength and improve range of motion and endurance. Education sessions cover topics including the benefits of exercise, what to expect post-treatment, healthy eating and nutrition, community resources and post cancer transition. You'll be asked to do an intake interview at the beginning of the program with a YMCA staff which will include your medical history and goal setting. You can self-refer to CanWell or be referred by your doctor. Your doctor's clearance is required to participate. The YMCA will provide you with a referral form to take to your doctor for approval.

The CanWell program provides participants access to:

  • Pilates classes and individualized exercise plans on the fitness floor with assistance from YMCA staff.
  • Access to a nurse practitioner from the Juravinski Cancer Centre.

If you've had a stroke, this 12-week program can help in your recovery with exercises aimed at improving your mobility, strength, balance, gait and coordination. There are also educational sessions based on the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Living with Stroke program.

The program is included with YMCA membership. Doctor's permission is required.

LiveWell programming is offered through a partnership between the YMCA, Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University, the Brant Community Healthcare System and Niagara Health System.

The Fit For Function program will allow participants access to:

  • Group fitness classes and individualized exercise plans.
  • Access to a Hamilton Health Sciences physiotherapist.

Did you know dancing is beneficial for brain health and physical function including balance?

GERAS Dance is a fun, mind and body program that emphasizes mobility, balance and strength for older adults (ages 60+) through a series of ballroom type movements. This 14-week program provides a mixture of both seated and standing movements that help improve cognitive and mobility impairments. No background in dance is necessary to participate.

This program is in partnership with the GERAS Centre for Aging Research at Hamilton Health Sciences. It is offered in various locations across Hamilton, Halton, and Brantford.

This program is FREE for members or $90.00 for non-members. Registration is required to participate in this program.

Is GERAS Dance right for me?
The program is designed for older adults (aged 60+) experiencing early cognitive or mobility impairments. Individuals may have a mobility aid but should be able to walk at least 10m and be able to get out of a chair unassisted.

How long are the program sessions?
The program will run for 14 weeks. The first week will be an introductory and assessment period for participants, followed by 12 weeks of GERAS dance, with the final week being a final assessment.

When and where is the program running?
The program is currently running at the following location:

Les Chater Family YMCA (Hamilton): 905-667-1515

How do I register?
Individuals can register at the membership desk. To receive full benefits of the program it is recommended to enrol prior to the start date. If space allows, the latest date to register will be the third week.

What happens during a class?
The class starts with a warm up and social element, followed by 30 minutes of dance (both seated and standing), and ends with a cool down session.

What are the health benefits to GERAS?
Studies show that GERAS allows you to exercise both the mind and the body, therefore increasing cognitive ability and physical health. It helps participants learn balance and strength and provides a great opportunity to socialize and meet new people.

Do I need to have dance experience to participate?
No, we welcome all individuals. Dance experience is not required.

Who can I contact for more information?
Christine Smith, Program Lead: 905-632-5000 ext. 6240

Genevieve Hladysh, Senior YMCA Program Lead: 905-929 - 7273

This cardiac care program offers patients three streams of supervised exercise and education based on their stage of rehabilitation.

  • Stream 1: Supervised walking program for individuals waiting to participate in cardiac rehabilitation. 
  • Stream 2: Supervised cardiovascular and strength program for individuals that have been identified as appropriate by Cardiac Rehabilitation team at HHS.
  • Stream 3: Supervised graduate program for individuals who have completed their hospital program and are ready to transition to the community for maintenance.

This is a registered program and all participants are required to meet with a YMCA Kinesiologist for a medical screening, tour of the facility and a review of the program schedule.

A doctor's referral note is required. An individualized program is designed that includes appropriate exercises and proper technique. Exercise selection and educational information is screened by a HHS health professional. Participants can join at any time and access multiple branches. Program is included with YMCA membership.

The Healthy Hearts program will allow participants access to:

  • Group warm-up and cooldown with individualized exercise plans on the fitness floor with access to a CHRC kinesiologist and YMCA staff.
  • Education sessions from staff at the Cardiac Health & Rehabilitation Centre (CHRC).

Rehabilitative exercises at your own pace, using a variety of equipment like water weights or floatation belts. Ideal for those with hip, knee, bone & joint issues or other medical conditions. Everyone is welcome.

Build your strength, flexibility, and develop control through the use of stabilization, alignment and breathing techniques.  May include the use of equipment to accelerate the development of core strength and proper body alignment. Suitable for all levels. 

A gentle, low-impact workout that uses Activator walking poles. Working with walking poles reduces impact on your joints and can improve the strength and coordination of your upper body. A doctor's referral is required.

YFit4U offers Children's Developmental Rehabilitation Program (CDRP) clients over the age of 10 the opportunity to work on fitness goals alongside a CDRP physiotherapist, YMCA staff and volunteer. The program offers support from a Recreation Therapist and Social Worker to encourage children to workout and have fun with peers in a healthy environment.

YFit4U participants must be able to complete their exercise program safely with a volunteer in a busy community setting.

Participants must be referred to the program by the Children's Developmental Rehabilitation Program at the Ron Joyce Children's Health Centre of Hamilton Health Sciences. .

Assessment will be completed upon enrollment in order to formulate appropriate exercise programs. Participants are asked to wear appropriate clothing for exercising.

This program is included with YMCA membership.

For more information, please contact:

  • Les Chater Family YMCA: 905-667-1515
  • Hamilton Health Sciences: 905-521-2100 ext. 74478

This program is designed for people with chronic bone and joint health problems such as osteoporosis and arthritis. It is also appropriate for those wanting to improve their health before and after having hip or knee replacement surgery.

All participants will meet with a YMCA staff for an intake interview to discuss medical history. You may join the program at anytime and education sessions occur weekly. A physician's approval is strongly recommended. 

The InMotion program will allow participants access to,

  • GentleFit, Hydrotherapy and WalkFit classes along with individualized exercise plans on the fitness floor with YMCA staff assistance.
  • Education sessions from a Hamilton Health Sciences physiotherapist.

Specially-designed for individuals with a spinal cord injury or mobility impairment, this program improves fitness levels and meet the specific needs of each individual. 

This program is appropriate for those with non-progressive conditions (spinal cord injury, spina bifida, stroke, amputees, cerebral palsy) whose condition is self-managed.

Participants will have access to a physiotherapist from Hamilton Health Sciences and Kinesiologist and Wellness Coaches from the YMCA. Participants will learn how to use exercise equipment and how to exercise safely with a prescribed program. To participate safely, a physician clearance will be required and a short review of medical history. Ongoing coaching, education and peer support are key elements of the program.

The Mobility+ program will allow participants access to individualized fitness plans on the fitness floor with YMCA staff assistance.