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Fitness for Breath Launch Event

Oct 23, 2015

An Exercise in Better Breathing for Simcoe/Muskoka

The Ontario Lung Association (OLA) and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka are excited to announce the launch of Fitness for Breath, an innovative exercise maintenance program for people with chronic lung disease.

The Fitness for Breath program is being offered at both the Barrie and Innisfil YMCA locations, and represent two of the 12 communities across the province to offer this exercise maintenance program. Supported by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, The Fitness for Breath programs:

  • Encourage inactive seniors and older adults to become active for life;
  • Improve participants’ activity and daily function;
  • Provide an accessible and safe exercise environment;  and
  • Strengthen the community recreation sector.

Fitness for Breath introduces basic movement skills to adults (55 and older) with chronic lung disease. Participants learn the importance of staying active for life and the health benefits of exercise. Over 30 certified fitness professionals have been trained to provide the specialized exercise maintenance program to people living with chronic lung disease.

Project Description
In the Fitness for Breath program, the Ontario Lung Association has developed and is now implementing and evaluating a new and innovative model for exercise maintenance programs for people with COPD. In partnership with fitness centres and with the support of pulmonary rehabilitation programs, it is being introduced in over twelve communities within the province. The goals of the “Fitness for Breath” program are to: (1) encourage an inactive population to become active for life, (2) improve participant’s activity and daily function, (3) improve physical literacy and fundamental movement skills, (4) provide an accessible and safe exercise environment, and (5) strengthen the community recreation sector.

Over a two-year period, Fitness for Breath will introduce basic movement skills to more than 200 adults (55 and older) with chronic lung disease. Participants will learn the importance of staying active for life and the health benefits of exercise. About 30 certified fitness professionals have been trained to provide the specialized exercise maintenance program to people living with chronic lung disease.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious and progressive respiratory disease that causes lung damage and blocks the airways. The main symptoms are shortness of breath, persistent cough and difficulty performing daily tasks. COPD is sometimes referred to as emphysema or chronic bronchitis and is primarily caused by smoking; however, up to 20 per cent of COPD cases are caused by other factors such as air pollution, lung infections and a genetic disorder.  COPD affects one in nine Ontarians over the age of 35.

People living with chronic lung disease are caught in a difficult cycle – cardiovascular exercise is essential for strengthening their lungs, yet at the same time, lung disease often prevents them from participating in regular fitness programs.

“For people with chronic lung disease like COPD, regular exercise results in fewer flare-ups and hospitalizations and a better overall quality of life,” says Carole Madeley, director of respiratory health programs with the Ontario Lung Association.

That’s what makes the Fitness for Breath program so special – it specifically takes into account the fitness needs and abilities of people living with COPD, making it possible for them to improve their quality of life.

The Ontario Lung Association is proud to offer this innovative program in partnership with the YMCA Simcoe/Muskoka and thankful to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for providing the grant that made it possible.

About the Ontario Lung Association
The Ontario Lung Association is a registered charity that assists, educates and empowers individuals living with or caring for others with lung disease. We provide programs and services to patients and health-care providers, invest in lung research and campaign for improved policies on lung health. Our Lung Health Information Line – 1‐888‐344‐LUNG (5864) – is staffed by certified respiratory educators.

Contact
John Chenery 416-864-9911 ext. 292 | jchenery@on.lung.ca