Health and fitness programs specifically designed for adults at Novita Health’s hydrotherapy and gymnasium hub at Welland are providing support and social connection for people living with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Using the benefits of land versus water activities to work towards achieving the same health, fitness and mobility goals for clients, the aquatic therapy group for people over the age of 18 utilises the Welland pool for group sessions geared towards the individual needs and goals of clients, while the Novita Fitness group for adults uses the Welland gym for land-based exercise.
The adult groups at Welland are delivered by Novita’s highly-trained and experienced exercise physiologists, physiotherapists, and allied health assistants.
Novita Practice Lead Kerry Evans says the groups focus on the individual needs of participants.
“Even though these programs are conducted as groups, we focus on the individual needs and goals of those taking part,” she says.
“There may be an initial appointment before joining the groups for our therapists to learn about the client’s goals and assess the best approach to achieving those goals through water or land-based programs.”
The aquatic therapy group provides a great opportunity to utilise the properties of water to assist with movement, as well as learn about water safety.
The main benefit of using the pool is buoyancy, which means the water supports the body, which can reduce the load on the body. For people experiencing pain, it can provide them with more freedom of movement and enable them to exercise at a higher level.
The viscosity of the water gives added resistance, which is great for muscle strengthening. And you also have hydrostatic pressure which can increase blood flow, so that may help people who have swelling in their limbs.
The gym-based program includes more high impact work, using weights, heavier lifting – working towards the same fitness and strengthening goals as the aquatic program.
The aquatic and gym groups also provide an opportunity for clients to socially interact with other participants in a safe and fun community setting.
Exercise physiologist Karlee Naumann says both the pool and gym programs are designed for adults living with physical and intellectual disabilities.
“It really could be anyone living with disability. The main thing is that they have goals that relate to their physical function and physical capacity – whether its strength, fitness, weight loss, or improving mobility,” she says.
The purpose-built hydrotherapy and gym facility at Welland is proving to be popular with Novita clients and their families, with client growth of around 20 percent since the facility opened last year.