The nine week programme in which 11 ladies attended weekly sessions at Rendall Munroe’s Gym in Leicester completed in December 2019, and work has taken place on evaluating the programme.
The programme funded by Leicester-shire & Rutland Sport and supported by the Centre offered specific types of kickboxing and yoga warm-up exercises with skills training. This was followed by light yoga poses for stretching purposes delivered by a qualified female kick boxing coach.
The ladies aged between 28-70 years attended a focus group session at the end of the programme to share their experiences and impact on well-being.
“I hate exercising and any physical activity, but now I find myself doing 20 minutes of exercise at home on my own.”
All of the ladies who attended felt it had been effective in improving their access to physical activity. As South Asian women’s access to sport is often restricted by religious and cultural barriers, the provision of a women only programme and female coach, made it easier for them to participate.
“It has built my self-confidence and I have learnt a lot of kickboxing strategies and self-defence techniques. I now do some of the warm ups exercises at home, some yoga and light exercises.”
Whilst some of the ladies had taken part in some forms of exercise (e.g Zumba and Aerobics) none of them had taken part in kickboxing prior to this programme.
“I was a bit unsure to join this kickboxing program because when I first came you were all young and I felt what I’m I doing here how will I get on, but it has been really nice and I feel I was able to get with all of you really well and I haven’t missed a session, because I love it.”
Overall, the ladies experienced increased levels of physical activity, and improved self-reported social network where they met other women alike. They are also thinking of new and innovative ways to exercise in the future, like Bollywood dancing, Soccercise and more martial arts.