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Women-only fitness classes launch on campus after student requests

By Scott Strasser, January 12 2015 —

University of Calgary Active Living is offering six women-only fitness classes this semester. The four types of classes include barre fusion, Jazzercise, Zumba and belly dancing.

Classes cost $110 and will run weekly from Jan. 13 until April 7. They are open to students and community members.

Students’ Union vice-president student life Kirsty McGowan said students proposed the idea of women-only fitness classes to her. She met with Active Living before the winter break to see what was possible.

“A group from the Muslim Students’ Association approached me about a lack of female-only fitness opportunities,” said McGowan. “I found out there was a gap on campus regarding women having an opportunity to be active in a women-only space.”

MSA president Nima Macci was one of the students that brought the issue to McGowan. She is pleased to see the new classes being offered.

“This will provide a great opportunity for Muslim women on campus who observe the hijab to engage in fitness and exercise related programs more comfortably,”  Macci said.

“If it’s a female-only class, they have more freedom to wear what they want and can exercise more comfortably,” McGowan said.

Active Living manager Pamela Cox said they have offered yoga classes for female Muslim students in the past.

“When we were approached by the SU to provide these options this year, we decided to limit certain courses to women only,” Cox said.

While McGowan worked with the MSA on the initiative, she believes the classes will have a wide appeal.

“Even though I was working with the MSA on this, I think this is something that has a broad audience,” McGowan said. “I think there are a lot of female students who would feel more comfortable exercising in a female-only environment and this is a great way for them to do so.”

McGowan said they are also looking to find women-only gym times in the small weight room in the Kinesiology basements.

For men who want to get their dance on, Active Living continues to offer classes in Zumba, jazzercise and barre fusion open to everyone.

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