What is YWCA Encore?

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 based and water based exercises, as well as information sessions with relevant guest speakers in a safe and supportive environment. Group numbers are limited to only fourteen participants.

YWCA Encore Program helps both men and 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 30 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 housework, hanging out the washing and carrying children 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 resistant strengthening exercises, the participants receive a whole body program as well as a general feeling of wellbeing.  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 wholistic 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.

YWCA Encore sessions are performed in small groups, maximum being 14, and led by two fully trained and experienced YWCA Encore Facilitators.


The sessions incorporate land and water based exercises (in a warm, hydrotherapy pool). They also provide general support, guest speakers and information on topics such as Lymphoedema management, nutrition and garments.  Exerises 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 to their own 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 women who have experienced breast cancer at any stage of their life.

Whether you are recovering from recent breast cancer surgery and treatment, or you had breast cancer many years ago, you will still receive many benefits from the program. Women of all ages take part in YWCA Encore.  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 using our new online enrolment process.


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 YWCA Encore exercises were developed in conjunction 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.