After one of our fitness classes, we sat down with the participants and invited them to share something they like about fitness, or something that has been difficult for them.
The first person to share was Khalida. She said, "Before I started exercising, I was not able to bend down to tie my shoes, but now I can." Next to her, Shireen shared "The best thing about coming to fitness is seeing my friends. I used to not have any friends and now I have friends." Another lady echoed that and then added that while she is really blessed by coming, it is difficult for her to leave her family and her husband. She gets up extra early on days where there is fitness in order to be done with her tasks at home and be able to come. In contrast to this, Leila said "Even though I have a small baby, everyone in my family is happy when I go to fitness".
People have different reasons for coming. Some come for the emotional encouragement, as for example Lazima, who stated "I come for my emotional wellbeing, to see people and be encouraged." Or, as another lady expressed it to the fitness leaders: "When I have heaviness in my life and I come and see you smile, I feel better." For others, it is even just the effects of exercise itself. One lady excitedly shared "I have lost three kilos! The thing I don't like is that we now only have two days instead of three."
More than 80 women are currently signed up for our exercise classes. However, attendance has varied and been low in the past weeks. Our instructors attribute this to the fact that we split the group into two and are giving each group classes twice a week instead of three times, as we used to when it was just one group, as well as the summer heat that keeps women from leaving their homes in the first place. We will reevaluate the covid-19 situation in the Fall so see if we can increase class sizes again and recombine the two groups.