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Cultural Exercise Empowerment

Asli Abdullahi

24 Aug 2022

Women’s Workout is a group fitness program designed exclusively for women

Women’s Workout is a group fitness program designed exclusively for women. Facilitated by our female instructors, our Women’s Workout program encourages women of all ages and fitness levels to keep active and meet new, likeminded women in a safe and inclusive environment. Iskufilan is a monthly support forum for women and mothers from multicultural communities that is held monthly in Footscray. This month, The Huddle combined these two successful programs to create a very special Iskufilan Women’s Workout.

The focus of this group was on teaching Somali women the importance of physical activity and all its accompanying mental health benefits. It was an environment where they can be themselves, and they can work out in a culturally sensitive environment where there were no men present – an incredibly important cultural difference to mainstream gym and workout environments and regimes.

The challenge that was outlined and addressed with this session was a lack of exercise among Somali mothers. An obstacle that most of these women expressed that they faced was insufficient spaces for modest women to work out that is catered to only women. The Huddle was able to overcome this obstacle and aid these women in learning basic exercise skills that they can continue going forward with in their own homes. As well as this, the session provided a safe space for the women to socialise, be themselves, and gain an authentic support network with different women from the community.

The support the women received with the exercise was as important as the delivery method - one that is as easily digestible and empowering as it is suited to their needs. The Iskufilan Women’s Workout provided a space for women to put themselves first, spend time working on themselves and improving their key health indicators, as well as socialise and forget about their home-life responsibilities for a short while.

I really enjoy the program and seeing the people.- Fatima Ali Gass

This special group of Somali women are now taking initiative with their self-care, overall health, and wellbeing which was initially a large oversight in the community. Many women from the sessions experienced noticeable improvements and are maintaining the importance of exercise for their health and wellbeing.

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