We love This Girl Can, and now Sport England’s campaign is moving into the next phase, #Fit Got Real, determined to challenge and change perceptions and experience of exercise in 2019, particularly for those who feel left behind by traditional exercise and didn’t even consider putting it on their New Year resolution list.
Halo work across Herefordshire to engage and empower women and to break down barriers to getting more physically active via affordable membership, free trials (you can pick up a free seven day pass today and give us a go), and a myriad of options and facilities to suit the tens of thousands who access our centres each year. Think fast-paced, high impact group exercise classes to gentle yoga; state-of-the-art gyms and marathon training sessions to spa-like toning suite designed to support people with mobility issues; dementia friendly swimming to life saving classes in the pool. But it is, they say, the women who have been in, tried out, and felt the difference that tell their story best. This month we met three of them…
Slimmer, quicker and fitter than before
Who: Caroline Jones, 54, uses the toning suite at Hereford Leisure Centre three or four times every week. This gentle gym like exercise studio has power assisted machines that work with the body so users can set their own pace.
Why: “I didn’t want to get to the age when it was too late to do anything about the niggles slowing me down.”
And? Caroline wasn’t sure on first glance whether it would make a difference. “But I am a stone lighter and 23.5 inches slimmer and quicker and fitter than before.”
Making progress and reaping the benefits
Who: Sarah Symonds, 29, uses the pool and group exercises classes at Leominster Leisure Centre and walks her two children the two mile return journey to school.
Why: “It all started with wanting to drop a dress size before my wedding in 2016,” says Sarah. “But I got to love it and after the honeymoon I went back and tried out some group exercise classes, and fell in love with the Combat Class. Lights, music, inspiration and now lots of new friends.”
And? “I used to hate sport at school and I am still pretty shy. But I’d encourage everyone to have a go. There’s no pressure at all – only support when you get in there. I can keep up with my kids now, and I’ve made so many friends (we don’t just work out together, we lunch and shop together too) and I’ve lost another two stone.”
Showing us how it’s done!
Who: Roxsie Logan, 32, has become a bit of an inspiration at Halo’s Leominster Leisure Centre since embarking on a journey to stay mobile after a multiple sclerosis diagnosis last year.
Why: “To be honest my motivation came from fury and frustration at my health issues, but also facing up to the fact that I needed to lose weight, eat better and use this first year following the diagnosis to change my life. I use the gym at least four or five times a week, mixing in some cardio with weight training for an hour or more.”
And? “It’s helped massively with my mental wellbeing as well as physical health (I’ve lost the excess weight) and when I see the doctors now they say I look so healthy they’ve decided to cut back on my appointments. It can be scary when you focus on the downside of a diagnosis. I know that. You can get trapped in the mindset of your world falling apart. But I see exercise as a free shot of endorphins, a free shot of happiness. When you start to feel better it’s more than your shape that changes. Your confidence comes back. When you feel those benefits, you don’t look back.”
Want to join the girls who can at Halo? Ask for a free seven day pass so you can give it a go, and let us know what you discover.
Find out more about ‘This Girl Can’ at www.thisgirlcan.co.uk, including the new video on how girls across the country, of every shape, size, age and ability, are getting more active more often.
Halo Leisure www.haloleisure.org.uk
Founder and editor of FitNet.
Previously gymnastics coach, massage therapist and personal trainer with 20 years of experience. Former gymnast and dancer.