Young at heart

YMCA of Greater Vancouver


In August 2015, the YMCA of Greater Vancouver started a new program called Active Seniors, in response to demand for fitness classes designed for members over the age of 55. The demand was sparked by member participation in a two-year research study conducted by the University of British Columbia. When the study ended, participants wanted to continue.

So the Y developed a training program for seniors interested in becoming fitness instructors. “I’m going to try to be a trainer and work at the YMCA,” said Nina Graham, 86, one of the new instructors, in a recent interview.

“I worked in long-term care for more than 30 years, mostly with seniors who are dependent on other people to help them with daily activities” says Linda Lee, 67, a program participant and aspiring YMCA instructor. “Since I’ve joined this program I’ve found different seniors. They’re healthier, they’re happier, mainly because of the exercise they’ve been doing.”

Says Graham, “The best part of it is when you get feedback and they’re happy with you and you see a big smile when they go out and they say ‘wow, that was a great class.’ ”