Queanbeyan Koori women's boot camp encourages healthy lifestyles

The Breathe Easy Koori Women's Boot Camp crew celebrate their big win in the Julie Young Challenge. Photo: Elliot Williams
The Breathe Easy Koori Women's Boot Camp crew celebrate their big win in the Julie Young Challenge. Photo: Elliot Williams

Health and particularly weight issues are increasingly becoming a problem in our society.

One group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is showing initiative in tackling this head on and improving their health and lifestyle choices.

The Breathe Easy Koori Women’s Boot Camp has been running over the past few months and has recorded some excellent results.

The group competed in the Julie Young Challenge, which is a state-wide community weight loss competition, and came second out of 21 teams winning $7500.

Organiser of the group and Indigenous health worker Skyan Fernando said it was a cause she was committed to continuing as it was vitally important to her people.

“Our people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, are more prone to chronic diseases, we get them much earlier in life, so if I can help even make the smallest change then that’s great,” Ms Fernando said.

“We’re very set in our ways a lot of the black fellas, but if this can offer something different and make a change then I’m all for it.”

However instead of the group focusing on negative statistics, they have strived to make it a positive and inclusive environment.

The group’s trainer Zoe Billerwell said she does not adopt a drill sergeant approach with the group and wants everyone to feel welcome and gain motivation from there.

“I want it to become something they own, so it becomes a lifestyle not just something they do once a week,” Ms Billerwell said.

She added she was impressed with the women’s efforts who not only attend classes but have taken to coming together to prepare meals and start walking groups. One week a representative from Quitline attended a session representing the wholistic approach the group takes with health and lifestyle.

Ms Fernando also said the group invited anyone to join, even men and people not of Indigenous heritage, as long as they were motivated and wanted to improve their health.

The group meets twice a week at Lambert Park but are seeking more permanent facilities to ensure the group keeps going.

  • You can contact Skyan@gugan-gulwan.com.au or bekwbootcamp@gmail.com for more information.