Leanne Hardaker wants to form a Warwick walking group to break down the stigma of exercise, together.
Leanne Hardaker wants to form a Warwick walking group to break down the stigma of exercise, together.

Personal struggles inspire new fitness club

THE path to a healthier you can be a daunting one, especially if you’re facing it alone.

That’s why one Warwick woman is launching her own community project to help residents “reclaim their life”.

As of next week, Leanne Hardaker is inviting everyone who ever wanted to get fit but didn’t know how, to join her beginners’ walking group ‘twenty is plenty’.

Mrs Hardaker said she was motivated to start the 20-minute walk around Leslie Park after coming to terms with her own fitness issues.

“We’ve only been in Warwick for one year, but in that year I’ve continued to put on weight and when I told my doctor I couldn’t find a walking group, he said ‘so start your own’,” she said.

She said the group was both about building up stamina and confidence, based on new research that showed just 20 minutes of exercise a day could dramatically improve wellbeing.

“Most people, if they’re bigger, are embarrassed to walk in public. They don’t want to wear tracksuits, and I know because I’ve been there,” she said.

“But I hate people being too frightened to go outside, and hopefully, when you’re in a group, you’re not as scared.”

The group is one aspect of the Salvation Army’s expansion of services during coronavirus.

Mrs Hardaker said she and her husband Richard, Corps Officer of the Warwick base, were continuing to reaching out to the community despite limitations.

“We’re used to working with people on the fringes,” Mrs Hardaker said.

“We came from the city, where we worked with drug and alcohol users, and I’ve noticed there’s a lot of ice usage out here as well.

“Our work is not just a matter of people knowing God, it’s about the quality of life and having a place to belong.”

The walking group will launch next 9am Wednesday, September 9 in Leslie Park, opposite the Salvation Army Hall.

For more information, contact Mrs Hardaker on 0419 379 738.



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