Trish Boileau at YMCA of Okanagan

In-person group fitness classes are temporarily suspended due to recent provincial health regulations. Our centres remain open, and we continue to offer a variety of virtual options. Learn more

In 2017, Statistics Canada reported that those over the age of 65 outnumber children under the age of 14. There are more seniors (5.9 million) than children (5.8 million) in Canada.

Presently, only 1 in 5 Canadian adults, and older adults, achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, based on the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. Aging is inevitable, but its impacts can be alleviated with a healthy diet, active lifestyle and opportunities for social interaction.

Trish Boileau knows firsthand the benefits physical activity can have. In late 2017, Trish was hospitalized for three weeks for multiple reasons including a small stroke and a urinary tract infection. During this time, Trish suffered from severe confusion, lost 40 lbs, was unable to recognize her daughters, forced to use a walker and couldn’t navigate the stairs in her home. 
“I was in a lot of pain and was suffering from anxiety and depression,” says Boileau. “I stopped doing anything; even getting out of bed was hard for me.”

Trish’s daughter, Melanie Elm, suggested that she join the YMCA of Okanagan. While skeptical at first, with some gentle encouragement from her daughter, Trish decided to give it a try.

“My daughter accompanied me to an Aqua Gentle class and I was hooked,” Boileau exclaims. “In the beginning, I had to drag myself out of bed as it was hard to find the motivation to come to class, but by the end of January, I started to notice a change. It was easier to get out of bed, and I looked forward to coming to the Y and trying more classes.” 

Serena Moser, Health and Fitness Manager at Kelowna Family Y, watched Trish’s progression in awe. 

“After becoming more comfortable, Trish added Chair Yoga for 50+ and both shallow and deep water Aquafit to her routine,” Moser explains. “Some weeks she even makes it into classes 5 days a week; not to mention, she walks the half mile from her house to the Y and back every time she comes in!”  

Trish says that her body now craves the exercise; she is much stronger, her muscles have limbered up, she experiences much less pain from her arthritis and her balance has improved. In fact, she feels even better than she did before getting sick. Trish has also found that her blood glucose levels have evened out and is hoping her doctor will consider reducing her diabetes medication. 

When asked what made the difference, Trish remarks that “The Y is close to the house, it is reasonably priced and offers a huge variety, the instructors are super helpful, patient and kind, and every time I turn around, one of the staff members is offering me a piece of advice. It’s great!” 

Adopting healthy habits can help reduce pain from arthritis, improve mood and energy levels, as well as prevent and manage chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes.

For those interested in falling back into healthier routines this September, the YMCA is offering two free opportunities to participate, including Choose to Move, a flexible program designed to increase social connections, build exercise motivation and confidence, as well as Seniors Health Assessments. One-hour Choose to Move information sessions will be held on Tuesday, September 11 and September 18 at 11 a.m. at Kelowna Family Y and on Thursday, September 20 at 1 p.m. at Kelowna Downtown Y. Seniors Health Assessments will be held at the Kelowna Family Y on October 26 and at H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre at a date to be announced. 

If you are interested in attending any of these events, please contact Adriane Long at 250-491-9622 ext 224 or Moreover, new members can get their first month free in September at all three Y-operated centres—Kelowna Family Y, H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre, and Kelowna Downtown Y. Learn more about all the YMCA has to offer at