Women get into fitness groove

Fitness centres and health clubs are no longer the domain of men. Women are equally eager to work out the extra kilos or simply keep fit by engaging themselves in aerobics or other health-oriented activity.

There is a large section of women who want to join these centres but for the time factor. Health consciousness has spread a lot and the lifestyles of the modern days cry out for some form of `keep fit' exercises or the other.

Most of the health clubs in the city are part of hotels. Very few like the one attached to the Regional Sports Centre or the DD Retreat exist outside a hotel. While Kochi is still far from catching up with the `health club culture' sported by other metros, their presence is not insignificant either.

Of course, something exclusively for women is non-existent. But this proposition is not viable too. It is the housewives who usually opt for health club activities while the working women find that they are missing out on the fitness aspect. Very few manage to make time to go to a health club in the morning or evening hours, when it is usually open to all. "There are no women during the morning and evening hours while we have quiet a few women during the day,'' says Davis Karadan who runs Softouch Health Club at the Regional Sports Centre, Kadavanthara, which is open exclusively to women from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to Mr. Davis, "women usually prefer to come during their exclusive time. Our society is still a little conservative. We have struggled to exist in the beginning. But now with increased health consciousness the health clubs have come to stay." It is a major deterrent against drugs, cigarettes and alcohol among the young. The Government should also take a step to promote such activities, he adds.

Women get into fitness groove

The health club at Abad Plaza gets women in the morning and evening hours too, according to the instructor, Anish Kumar. Time is set apart for women from 9-30 a.m. to 5-30 p.m., but very few women come during this period. Anyway, there are only about 10-12 regular members who come for their workouts or to use the swimming pool.

Says S.A.S. Navaz, secretary of the RSC, the swimming pool at the centre is always occupied. "It is very popular among the members. A woman instructor is also there for the beginners,'' he says.

Says instructor, Susheela P.M., "the vacation classes held here are usually overflowing with people. Otherwise too, there are quite a few women and young girls who come to learn or simply swim.''

Apart from the pool, aerobics, yoga and the health club are quite popular among women. Games like badminton, table tennis, etc. are available and women have exclusive time too.

Aerobics trainer at the RCS, Rani Navaz, has taken to teaching aerobics full time in spite of having professionally trained to be a lawyer. Aerobics is very popular among women these days. Classes are held for aerobics in various places in the evenings which are quite well attended by women.

By Shyama Rajagopal

Photos: H. Vibhu

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