The YMCA is bringing back its popular Warm Water Aqua Fit classes and Restorative Pool Time.

Tentatively beginning January 30, 2017, the program will run a 12-week session from Monday to Thursday at the Grace Hansen Therapeutic Pool on the third floor of the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation and Arthritis Centre on Summer Street in Halifax. The warm water classes use full body exercises to promote muscle strength and endurance, as well as joint flexibility and overall balance, and will be followed by a 45-minute therapeutic pool session.

The program is offered through a partnership between the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth and the Nova Scotia Health Authority, which provides the facilities.

“The class is intended for people who have arthritis or any kind of condition for which low or no-impact exercise would be beneficial,” says Cathy Beairsto, Coordinator, YMCA Healthy and Active Living. “Warm water exercise and restorative pool time is a big plus, because being cold is an enemy for anyone with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis arthritis, conditions that limit mobility, or a joint condition such as fibromyalgia, for example. Some people with these conditions have difficulty taking Aquafit classes in traditional pools because the water is too cold. This provides the additional benefit of warm water.

“The Restorative Pool Time, which will follow the classes, is intended for anyone who wishes to exercise on their own, who wants to spend additional time in the warm water, or who may benefit from additional exercise instruction or ideas from the instructor.”

The classes will be led by a qualified YMCA Aqua Fit instructor with a lifeguard on deck for the classes and the 45-minute restorative pool time after.

Cheri Gunn, Program Manager, Person Centered Ambulatory Care at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation and Arthritis Center, said that therapeutic pools are often distinguished from community pools by their physical accessibility options and water temperatures ranging between 92- 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Water based exercise can benefit many individuals and is a vital therapeutic modality within our rehabilitation programs,” says Cheri. “In some cases, individuals are able to perform activities and exercises in the water