The YMCA Abilities in Motion Program (AIM) was founded in 1999 in partnership with the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre (Nova Scotia Health). AIM was born from the need to provide safe, supportive, fully inclusive and affordable access to the rehabilitation centre gym, and its equipment, for community out-patients with mobility concerns – many of whom were on fixed incomes and required an affordable, specialized exercise program to maintain a healthy lifestyle. YMCA staff and volunteers led the activities in the evenings when the gym was not being utilized by in-patients and physiotherapists.
Although the program emerged from the need to support participants’ physical activity and recovery goals, it turned out that the benefits of social connection weighed equally with the benefits of exercise. Before and after class, participants gathered to socialize and often participated in group special activities like pot lucks, bus tours and special guests. In recent years, the YMCA and the staff of the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, opened the warm water therapy pool for AIM participants. Buoyancy and warm water have tremendous health benefits for those who manage mobility concerns. It is the sense of freedom in the water that lifts the body and the spirit!
Despite having to endure a lengthy program closure due to COVID restrictions, the AIM program has re-launched this summer and now operates out of the new John W. Lindsay YMCA. Participants are excited to be a part of the new facility, large spaces and all the energy that goes along with being a part of a growing, diverse membership.
The YMCA is proud to be a partner with Nova Scotia Health in this long-standing program. It is a living example of the YMCA’s strategic commitment to Health and Wellness Our YMCA remains committed to building our value to society as an enduring institution where people can enrich and renew their health and wellbeing, whether physically, mentally or socially.