Community recreation and fitness activities like waterfit support wellness and help boost social connections.

Smile! A warm welcome awaits at Saanich waterfit

“If you smile at someone at the pool, they always smile back!” says fitness instructor JoAnn Gillespie, who specializes in waterfit classes at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

It’s a message Joan Kelter-Wesenberg has embodied for the many years she’s dropped in to JoAnn’s classes, sharing a welcoming smile with both newcomers and the many familiar faces joining her at her neighbourhood pool.

Getting terrific value from her Saanich Access Pass, Joan is a fixture in JoAnn’s classes – working out in both the 9 a.m. class and the following 10:15 a.m. class.

“Like many of the girls in my class who retired from work, all of a sudden there was no program in our lives and most of us had to fill it, and the pool is perfect,” says Joan, whose annual Access Pass makes it easy and affordable to visit Saanich Commonwealth Place five days a week. “To many of us, it’s the highlight of our day.”

Joan and JoAnn’s approach speaks to the welcoming nature of community recreation and fitness, but also their vital roles in sharing social connections, especially among older adults who can become more isolated.

“We have people of all backgrounds and fitness levels, so I want to inspire every participant to do their best on that particular day – it’s so important for physical health, but also their mental health,” says JoAnn, who also draws on cognitive elements she includes with her registered programs for older adults. “I always try to bring a little brain work into class and some social elements as well.”

Her efforts resonate with participants. “JoAnn is a wonderful, wonderful teacher,” Joan says. “She keeps us up to date with what’s what in the waterfit world and she’s always introducing something new for us.”

Never tried waterfit? Book an orientation today!

People who haven’t tried waterfit or water running/walking are often surprised at the potential intensity of the workout. At the same time, the low- or no-impact makes it ideal for those who need a little support for their joints, or those returning from an injury or surgery, JoAnn notes.

A 6o-minute one-on-one orientation is just $30 per person and includes a friendly introduction to the pool, the equipment and the some of the exercises. Call Saanich Commonwealth Place or Gordon Head Recreation Centre to book your waterfit orientation.

Get your Access Pass today!

Your Saanich Access Pass offers 31 different drop-in activities weekly at four centres, including fitness, sports, swims and skates. With passes for every budget, including a monthly payment plan for some passes, buy your pass online or at any Saanich recreation centre. Learn more at

READ MORE: Flexible + Affordable + Inclusive: Your Saanich Access Pass has it all!


A 6o-minute one-on-one waterfit orientation includes a friendly introduction to the pool, the equipment and the some of the exercises. Book yours at either Gordon Head or Saanich Commonwealth Place recreation centres.

Waterfit and water running/walking offer great workouts with little or no impact on the joints.

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