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How to Start a Fitness for Breath Program

Starting an Exercise Maintenance Program in Your Fitness Facility


If you are thinking about starting an exercise maintenance program, then we would recommend:

  • Visiting one of the existing Fitness for Breath program sites or speaking with a staff member who is currently running a program.
  • Connecting with a staff member at The Lung Association – Ontario to find how we can support you in getting an exercise maintenance program started in your facility.

If you are a fitness centre staff member, then:

  • Try to have the program centrally located.
  • Consider size of space as there needs to be enough room for participants who may have oxygen with them or may use a walker.
  • Have free accessible parking available close to the entrance.
  • Be easily accessible, preferably no stairs, but if there are stairs ensure there is an accessible elevator close by.
  • Ensure necessary amenities such as washrooms are close by and accessible.

If you are not a fitness centre staff member, but would like to try and get an exercise maintenance program in your community, then:

  • First, look for a suitable location. We recommend approaching facilities such as the YMCA or other community-based fitness facilities.
  • Contact the person in charge of fitness.
  • Tell them about Fitness of Breath and our website and ask that they take a look and consider adding an exercise maintenance program to their site.
  • Provide them with The Lung Association – Ontario’s contact information.

The program should be offered a minimum of twice a week. Maintenance is a life long commitment. The sessions should last at least one hour. This will allow time for people to warm up, do their exercises as outlined in their exercise plan, do their breathing techniques if they need to get their breathing under control, and allow for a cool down.

The individualized exercise plan should include both aerobic and strength training for upper and lower extremities. The variety of exercises may include, but are not limited to; resistance training with therabands, hand weights, stationary cycles, treadmill, track or hallway walking.

Exercise should be supervised by a trained fitness trainer, or kinesiologist.  The number of trainers to client ratio will vary depending on the severity of the clients’ breathing challenges.


Ideally, the cost of the program should be included in the gym membership, however, for those who do not have a membership, we recommend offering a nominal per session fee of about $5.00/session.

You can find a variety of assessment and evaluation tools on this website that are appropriate for this population group.