Hamilton Area YMCA

Chronic Illness Programs

The Y is more than a place to get physically active; it's a driving force behind living a healthy and full life. The Hamilton Area YMCA is committed to providing programs and initiatives that promote well-being reduce risk and reclaim health. 

For more information about our Chronic Illness Programs, please contact Mary Gagliardi at 609.581.9622 ext. 121 or mgagliardi@hamiltonymca.org.


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Thrive: Cancer Wellness

THRIVE (To Help Restore and Increase Vitality through Exercise) is the Hamilton Area YMCA’s  8-week group personal training program designed for people who have become de-conditioned or chronically fatigued from battling cancer. 

With the guidance of specially trained personal trainers, participants build back muscle mass and muscular strength, increase flexibility and cardiovascular endurance, and improve functional ability. Participants are also offered the opportunity to try a sampling of group exercise classes within the supportive environment of the group. First time THRIVE participants and their families receive a Facility membership for the duration of the program.

Schedule of Offerings:
Monday and Wednesday 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

THRIVE will run during Spring and Fall sessions.

For more information, contact Mary Gagliardi at mgagliardi@hamiltonymca.org.
Should I exercise during cancer treatment and recovery?
Research strongly suggests that exercise is not only safe during cancer treatment, but it can also improve physical functioning and many aspects of quality of life. Moderate exercise has been shown to improve fatigue (extreme tiredness), anxiety, and self-esteem. It also helps heart and blood vessel fitness, muscle strength, and body composition (how much of your body is made up of fat, bone or muscle).

Can regular exercise reduce the risk of cancer coming back?
This has not been looked at for all types of cancer, but there have been studies of survivors of breast, colorectal, prostate, and ovarian cancers. In these studies, people with higher levels of physical activity after diagnosis lived longer and had less chance of the cancer coming back. Still, more studies are needed to see if exercise has a direct effect on cancer growth.

This is part of an article developed by the American Cancer Society 2010 Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer Survivorship Advisory Committee. The full article, written for health care professionals, Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors is published in the April/May 2012 issue of 
CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Aqua Arthritis (ages 18+)

This class allows you to exercise without putting excess strain on your joints and muscles. The gentle activities in warm water, with guidance from an Arthritis Foundation certified instructor, will help you gain strength and flexibility. Excellent for beginning or returning exercisers, and strengthening for pre-surgery and post-surgery.

 Typical Class:

Classes take place in our heated indoor pools. Exercises approved by the Arthritis Foundation include walking, gentle stretching, flexing, extension and range-of-motion. Exercises are done in shallow water and focus on activities of daily living, moving a joint through your range of motion and holding it to feel a gentle stretch in the muscle.


  • Decreased pain and stiffness
  • Increased joint flexibility
  • Increased range of motion
  • Improved performance with daily activities


Attire and What to Bring:

  • Come to class dressed and ready for the pool
  • Proper swim attire is required (swim suit), no basketball shorts, street clothes, etc.
  • Water shoes (encouraged)
  • Towel, water bottle (no glass)



Aqua Exercise For Individuals with MS

This program is designed to offer individuals with Multiple Sclerosis an opportunity to participate in a water exercise class.  The class is taught in shallow water in a group setting with an emphasis on fun and independence.  Our MS Society-certified instructor will work with participants through a variety of techniques including aerobic exercise, strengthening, balance training, and stretching in addition to a warm-up and cool down.

Why Water Works
Water is a very inviting exercise environment for many with Multiple Sclerosis. Cool water temperatures—80-84 degrees Fahrenheit— helps to keep core body temperatures low, reducing the chances of overheating.  The natural properties of water, including buoyancy or weightlessness combined with resistance, create an 
excellent environment for movement and exercise.

  • Improve socialization, decrease isolation
  • Promote well-being and improve self-esteem
  • Provide an atmosphere to exercise that minimizes or prevents a rise in core body temperature
  • Prevent symptoms secondary to MS (i.e.: muscle atrophy, joint contractures pressure sores)
  • Maintain or improve range of motion and flexibility of joints
  • Maintain or increase endurance potential
  • Maximize muscle strength

Attire and What to Bring:

  • Come to class dressed and ready for the pool
  • Proper swim attire is required (swim suit), no basketball shorts, street clothes, etc.
  • Water shoes (encouraged)
  • Towel, water bottle (no glass)
Check back for program offerings.