Blackwood Youth Action to host free women’s circuits in Bridgetown to teach lifelong fitness skills

Anjelica SmilovitisManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Sharon Gardner teaching free women's fitness classes in Bridgetown.
Camera IconSharon Gardner teaching free women's fitness classes in Bridgetown. Credit: Anjelica Smilovitis/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Free fitness circuits have been launched in Bridgetown, providing an opportunity for women to work out together weekly.

The sessions, started earlier this month, are hosted by Blackwood Youth Action for girls and women to enjoy exercise in a welcoming and safe space.

Chief executive Lisa Burgess said the purpose goes beyond the “incredible health benefits” the attendees will reap, highlighting it as an opportunity for residents to come together and feel they belong.

“If we have a young person who doesn’t have a huge family support, or don’t have family, what we can do is connect them to community,” said Mrs Burgess.

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She said the “awesomeness of exercise” also helps people to feel strong and capable in everyday life, with uplifting music, laughter and a round of circuits creating a positive atmosphere.

“We’ve had a really great response to it,” she said.

The idea to hold circuits in Bridgetown came about last year following a BYA fundraiser, with the Bridgetown Medical Centre donating $500 to the youth centre for gym equipment.

Medical centre manager Sharon Gardner and Mrs Burgess spoke about doing fitness classes for girls and women, with the purpose of connection and community in the town.

Mrs Gardner hosts the sessions as a volunteer on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4.30pm to 5.30pm, which are open to all age groups and fitness levels, including those with injuries.

She said one of the sessions’ goals is to teach women about physical movement without needing gym equipment.

The circuits are made up of various body-weight exercises so attendees can also take the workouts home with them.

“It is about being aware of the ability their bodies have and how to exercise in a safe way, so (people) can have a lifelong fitness journey,” Mrs Gardiner said.

“You don’t have to be an athletic superstar to have fitness and wellbeing in your life.”

Bringing women together and having fun while working out is at the core of the initiative, with Mrs Gardiner said they most important thing for participants is not to feel judged.

“We’re all working at our own level. I want them to feel like this is their community and safe space where they can come and learn about taking care of themselves,” she said.

Community interest has been high, with the classes now running for the third week this month.

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