Fitness in the Park, Angela Hookham

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Warming up for Fitness in the Park with a game of bandanna tag. Angela says her participants love the fact they can also bring their kids along. Photo - Jennifer Wallace.

Warming up for Fitness in the Park with a game of bandanna tag. Angela says her participants love the fact they can also bring their kids along. Photo - Jennifer Wallace.

“For me, Fitness in the Park was set up because I saw there was a need for women to have a sense of community and belonging” says owner and operator Angela Hookham.

“The question keeps coming up in my mind; in a day and age when there’s free online workouts all over the place, why do people still go to group sessions or PT when they can get it at home for free?”

Angela has asked this of the women who go to her sessions and their answers revealed it’s because they’ve become a community which gives them a sense of connection, encouragement, friendship and fun, “and the fact that they can bring their kids along” Angela said.

“We started with one Fit Mumma session back in 2014 and we now have nine sessions,” many of which are scheduled to suit the needs of working women. 

Angela says that “Fitness has become about so much more than losing weight.”

It’s about overall health, such as reducing the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes or other chronic disease, as well as helping mental health.

“The big one I come across in women, and this is one that we target as much as we can, and that sense of community deals with this one a lot, but (it seems) every second or third woman that I speak to has been touched by depression at some stage or anxiety,” Angela says.

“Fitness, in a general sense deals with that, then you bring that into something like what we have with a sense of community.”

With any workout “endorphins and serotonin are getting thrown in there, but one of the things that I have tried to do, and we do at most sessions, is laugh,” Angela said.

“I think women have forgotten how to play, and they have forgotten how to be competitive. When I started throwing some competitive team sessions in there I was really surprised how competitive, in a fun sense, women can be.”

That sense of connection carries on after the sessions too, through channels like the Facebook page, and “two to three times a year we go out to dinner,” Angela says.