Founded in 2009, MOVE Adapted Fitness welcomes anyone with a physical disability to exercise to the best of their ability, with their highly trained volunteers.

Facility coordinator Alannah Verville explains that MOVE “is a facility for people with physical disabilities who maybe feel like they… can’t go to a rec centre, or feel like they just need a little more assistance [when they exercise.]

“We charge $50 dollars a month,” says Verville, “and we do have punch cards available, and drop in. We also have subsidies available for people that feel like they maybe can’t afford our monthly fee.”

And this non-profit gym is celebrating 10 years with a move to a new, larger facility at 775 Topaz Avenue, next to Neuromotion Physiotherapy.

Physiotherapist Hillary Acosta is the manager at Neuromotion Physiotherapy.

“Once they’re done with their rehab, then they can go next door and continue their exercise and their treatment programs in the [MOVE Adapted Fitness] gym with the volunteers,” she said.

As Verville explains, those “volunteers” are highly skilled trainers.

“We are solely volunteer run.  All of our volunteers come from programs from UVic or Camosun, all in the kinesiology realm, dedicated to health and wellness.”

One of those volunteers is Marissa Hoen, a UVic Kinesiology student.

“I get to study in the morning, and then come here and test my knowledge, which is really rewarding, for sure!” she said.

It took years of planning, and a major renovation to make this new location a reality.  And it’s not just a more convenient location — it’s also larger.

“We’re so happy to be in a more accessible, bigger facility,” says Verville.  “We’re hoping that we can open it up to more people in the community.”

“I had a massive stroke,” says Murray Noel, a MOVE member for about five years.

“And I did physiotherapy in the hospital, then started coming down to Neuromotion, to keep everything moving. Then we switched over to MOVE, to maintain.”

Chris Marks arrived to celebrate the opening of the new, larger facility with his partner Marcella Williams.

“When I was newly injured, I was here pretty much five days a week, several hours a day, until I got busy in school…  I just came out to support them because their new location is beautiful, and it’s only a few minutes from my house now, so I’ll try and come back!”

“We know everyone by name” says Hoen, “which is just so different from any gym I’ve ever been to! I really look forward to seeing everyone here. Everyone has their own story, and it just makes me realize how lucky we are, just to be breathing, and moving, and even just the littlest movement you have can be fantastic, if you just focus on that.”

Click here to learn more about MOVE adapted fitness, or to support this vital non-profit.

Veronica Cooper