What is YWCA Encore?

Did you know that breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women?

The YWCA Encore Program is a free eight- week exercise program, uniquely delivering both prescriptive land and water-based exercises, as well as information sessions with relevant guest speakers in a safe and supportive environment. Group numbers are limited to a maximum of fourteen participants.

YWCA Encore helps women recovering from breast cancer treatments by restoring strength, mobility and flexibility as well as developing confidence and general wellbeing.  

Operating in Australia for over thirty years, YWCA Encore has already helped thousands of Australian people.


How can YWCA Encore help?

Overall physical wellbeing

After breast cancer treatment many women experience numbness, pins and needles, a loss of mobility and strength and discomfort in their upper bodies. Simple things like household chores can become difficult.  Other side effects can be loss of energy, lethargy, brain fog and insomnia, to name a few.

The YWCA Encore Program helps to improve strength, mobility and flexibility through the arms, shoulders, chest and back. The cardio exercises performed in the hydrotherapy pool also help to improve general fitness. By focusing on upper and lower body resistance-strengthening exercises, the participants receive a whole body program as well as a general feeling of well-being. Hydrostatic pressure from the water on the body is the optimal treatment for delivering lymphatic massage, helping to manage and reduce the risk of Lymphoedema throughout the whole body, as well as reducing fatigue and lethargy associated with treatments.

Emotional wellbeing

YWCA Encore is a holistic program.  This is the ideal first step to restoring fitness, confidence and to create positive self-esteem and body image. At the end of many months of treatment, many people feel that they have lost all sense of routine and self-care.  This program is the ideal way to start taking time out for one's self.

The sessions are also an opportunity for women to share their experiences in a safe and supportive environment and connect with other women in their local area who understand what it is like to experience breast cancer. Many great friendships have been formed through the YWCA encore programs.


What are YWCA Encore sessions like?

Small, friendly and fun!

The YWCA Encore program is made up of a two-hour session every week for eight weeks.

The sessions are performed in small groups, with a maximum of 14 people, and led by two fully trained and experienced facilitators.

The sessions incorporate land and water-based exercises and provide general support, guest speakers and information.

Exercises are added every fortnight with printed simple take home exercises and information.  The program is progressive, with the aim of gradually increasing your fitness and strength over the eight-week program.


No pressure

YWCA Encore participants are encouraged to work within their own capacity and ability, and there is no pressure to keep up with others. With multiple exercise level options, participants can work to their own level during the whole program.

Participants do not need to be able to swim, as the exercises are performed at chest height water, with no need to put the head under the water, and all pools are at a comfortable temperature (27-33 degrees).  

Who can attend?

YWCA Encore welcomes any woman who has experienced breast cancer at any stage of her life. 

Whether your breast cancer surgery and/or treatment is recent or was many years ago, you can still benefit from our exercise program. Women of all ages and fitness levels take part. People with knee and hip problems also have the double benefit of exercising in the water.

Participation is by enrolment only and all participants need to sign up to the program of their choice.


How do I know YWCA Encore is right for me?

YWCA Encore is a long-running program that complements the medical treatment of breast cancer.  

The exercises were developed in consultation with health professionals and the program is overseen by an advisory board of health professionals.

You will also need consent from your medical practitioner to enrol in YWCA Encore to ensure that the program is right for you at your current stage of recovery.


YWCA Encore Online 

The Encore online program is a free 8-week prescriptive exercise and information program designed for women who have been touched by breast cancer.

The online program is hosted via the Zoom cloud-based video conferencing service and runs for 1.5 hours per week over a duration of 8 weeks and features our gentle prescriptive land based exercises, which are designed to increase your level of flexibility and range of movement, increasing in the level of difficulty and resistance over the 8 week time frame. The 1.5 hours includes 1 hour 15 minutes of gentle exercise broken down into warm up, prescriptive exercises and stretching (cool down), and 15 minutes of interaction with the facilitators and other participants involving an element of fun and social connection.

We encourage you to commit to full attendance to gain the most benefit. Take home exercises are also provided each week to encourage you to try the exercises at home in between sessions. The coordinator of the program will organise guest speakers to present topics of interest to the group via Zoom webinars which run throughout the program. Encore is very relaxed with an aim of each woman feeling engaged and having fun.

How can I attend the online sessions?

Participants would need to complete their enrolment in order to participate. 

Participants will also need a laptop, computer, mobile phone or iPad with a front facing webcam or camera to enable each participant to see the facilitator demonstrating the exercises and for the facilitator hosting the session to see each participant performing the exercises safely. Detailed information is provided upon enrolment.

Sign up for an YWCA Encore Online session.