Ditch the gym, head to a park to get fit

Fitfreek trainer Julio De Aguiar runs outdoor fitness classes. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d413212
Fitfreek trainer Julio De Aguiar runs outdoor fitness classes. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d413212

The number of outdoor-based fitness and workout groups in the area has grown recently, with people moving away from gym-based workouts and moving outdoors.

One such group is Fitfreek, with owner Julio De Aguiar saying the growing cost of one-on-one personal training attracted more people to cheaper outdoor fitness classes.

Mr De Aguiar, who has run sessions throughout Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville since January last year, said peer support played a big role in the growing popularity of these types of groups.

‘A group environment can offer a huge amount of motivation and support to keep people focused and coming back,’ he said.

‘I believe they’re growing in popularity because of the support each person gives to each other ” not everyone is confident enough to exercise in a gym, but training in a group allows each member to receive attention and never be alone.’

Fitt Club Fremantle’s Nicola Weaver said her group focused as much on the community side of things as the exercise and had great responses from those who took part.

‘These groups promote being active through fun and we get a lot of people who do not enjoy the gym or are afraid about getting started back into exercise,’ she said.

‘Some of the results include weight loss, coming off anti-depressants and improved skin and people enjoy being outdoors with like-minded people.’

Act Belong Commit health promotion officer Sarah Graham said there was not just physical but also mental benefits to this type of workout.

‘Physical activity is probably one of the easiest ways to boost mental health and research shows that people who exercise on a regular basis experience higher life satisfaction than those who don’t exercise at all,’ she said.

‘Being active is great, but being active with others is even better because physical activity in groups keeps us motivated, allows us to catch up with friends and widens social networks, all of which add further benefits to mental health.’