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Women-only fitness classes prove popular among students

By Scott Strasser, March 14 2016 —

University of Calgary Active Living now offers women-only weight training following the success of recently introduced women-only fitness classes.

Active Living is offering weekly weight-training classes for women from March 7–28. The classes take place every Monday from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the small weight room below the kinesiology changing rooms.

In December 2015, a group of women from the Muslim Students’ Association approached the Students’ Union about the possibility of implementing women-only fitness options on campus. Vice-president student life Kirsty McGowan worked with Active Living to create six women-only fitness classes in barre fusion, jazzercise, zumba and belly dancing for this semester.

“It was about making sure all students had the opportunity to be active on campus and to have a space where they felt comfortable to exercise in,” McGowan said. “A lot of students told me they’re really happy with the classes and they’re glad they have an option to be active.”

All six of the women-only classes offered were fully booked. Active Living manager Pamela Cox estimates that around 15–20 students chose the classes because they were only for women.

“The classes are all very popular so it’s difficult to know for sure what percentage of the students signed up specifically for the women-only experience,” Cox said. “I did receive several inquiries about the classes, though.”

Third-year kinesiology student Shannon Giorgini registered for one of this semester’s women-only barre fusion classes. Giorgini said she chose that option because it worked best with her schedule.

“I didn’t specifically pick it because of the women-only aspect, but I think maybe it could make it easier for some women to work out in a women-only space,” she said.

Giorgini believes it’s good to have safe spaces for women to work out, but suggested incorporating men as well.

“I’d almost argue we should be encouraging mixed spaces where we can create a supportive environment, instead of perpetuating the idea that women need to feel comfortable working out by themselves,” Giorgini said.

Active Living is also offering a free weight-training orientation for women on April 1. The orientation is run by a personal trainer and takes place from 4:15 – 5:15 p.m.

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