Peer Led Program under direction of new trainer

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, April 25 2017

After many months of being guided by Lesley Standerwick, the participants at the Gabriola Peer Led Exercise Program are now under the tutelage of Personal Trainer Suzette Delmage. 

The Peer Led Program participants at a ceremony recognizing the accomplishments they have achieved after a year in the program with outgoing trainer Lesley Standerwick (front row in black) and new trainer Suzette Delmage (grey). Derek Kilbourn photo 

The Circuit style exercise program supports those people who are managing chronic health conditions including bone and joint conditions, diabetes, heart and respiratory conditions, cancer, obesity, and mental health issues.

Delmage officially took over from Standerwick at a special session of the program recently.

She brings with her a background in physical and health education. “I’m not a youngster. I’m 62, I’ve always had an interest in seniors.”

Delmage will be taking on the scheduling of the program, the facility, the paperwork behind the scenes and the volunteer scheduling. There are 6 to 8 volunteers who also help with the program.

“The other piece of it is acting in the role of mentor of fitness advisor and supervisor to ensure the exercises are being done properly.

“People can’t see themselves, they can’t tell if they are doing things properly - it’s important to ensure they are.”

She said it’s also important for people with chronic conditions to know which exercise is appropriate for their particular needs.

“So it is being there as someone who they can ask questions of.”

Delmage said the exercises are all quite safe, designed for this particular group - she is there to guide them.

“The group is so keen, even in all that nasty cold weather, people were still coming out, they believe in it so much, it helps them so much.”

Delmage said, “Most people over the age of 60 have at least one chronic issue or condition. 

“Arthritis, heart, diabetes, obesity, there are all kinds of issues that start to show their face after the age of 60. Some is wear and tear - the key is to keep people moving. 

“It is never too late, all the research in terms of fitness and aging...moving your body on a daily basis.”

Hope remains high that a south-end location can be established so those living at that end of Gabriola can participate a little more easily.

Delmage says she knows the program has been succeeding in its goals since it started.

“It is a life changer for a lot of the participants. They say  it is simple to come two or three times a week. 

“People say they have to come or they get stiff, it’s the only way that stays away. 

“A year ago some couldn’t balance on one foot for two seconds, now they can for over a minute. 

“It’s great when you hear those stories, you know it makes a difference for them in their daily lives.”

The program can be accessed either through a doctor referral or directly. 

Those interested can contact Suzette and an orientation will be arranged. 

She can be reached by email at or by phone at 250-616-3195.