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YMCA South Australia to launch new Strength for Life Aqua program

YMCA South Australia to launch new Strength for Life Aqua program
August 10, 2020

A new aqua exercise program, Strength for Life Aqua, aimed at increasing strength and mobility in people over 50 is being prepared by YMCA South Australia, in collaboration with the Council of the Ageing (COTA) and will be launched at The Parks Recreation and Sports Centre in the Adelaide suburb of Angle Park on 1st September.

The program is an adaption of the successful land-based program that has run across many of the state’s YMCA-managed centres since 2013. It will enable older community members to access an affordable, quality strength training program in a weight-supporting pool environment, fully supervised by instructors or exercise physiologists.

The Strength for Life program has been shown to improve balance and walking endurance in older people and can be effective in alleviating the effects of chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart disease, chronic kidney disease and depression.   

Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Laura Johns will facilitate the Strength for Life Aqua program and YMCA Area Manager, Craig Hortin, said the initiative would encourage participation by older community members who needed the extra stability provided by water.

Hortin advises “the new Aqua program will allow people to seek safe guidance based on their individual concerns and limitations and give them the confidence and strength to explore other exercise activities.

“It is ultimately aimed at helping older people improve their function of daily activities.”

Hortin added that ageing had long been associated with a loss of physical strength, function and mobility, however research has shown that regardless of age, muscular strength can be regained and maintained by undertaking an appropriately prescribed strength training program.

The Strength for Life program operates under a tiered system developed by COTA, with Tier 1 involving exercise physiologists or physiotherapists and the potential to refer clients as part of primary care packages. Tier 2 is delivered by fitness professionals via referrals for ongoing management of chronic conditions, or as preventative action.

Enrolment in the Strength for Life program at YMCA South Australia centres is inclusive of a thorough assessment of physical and medical suitability for the activities involved prior to starting and, if required, referral from medical professionals as necessary.

Hortin adds “the initial assessment involves a discussion about medical history, your purpose within the program, objective assessments and potentially exercises to complete.

“There is access to financial assistance and a Medicare rebate for eligible participants, so I would encourage those people to see their GP and ask for sessions to be allocated to an Exercise Physiologist.”

Strength for Life Aqua at The Parks will start with two weekly sessions from 9.30 to 10.30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with plans to expand across other YMCA-managed centres to accommodate demand as required.

For more information on the benefits of the Strength for Life Aqua program visit

Image top: The Parks Recreation and Sports Centre in the Adelaide suburb of Angle Park and image above Strength for Life Aqua program


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