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Women prisoners embrace Wisemove

9 January 2013

Womens prison

Inmates at Adelaide Women's Prison are just one of the latest groups to take up the women's lifestyle program WISEMOVE.

The 10 week program, facilitated by the Office for Recreation and Sport (ORS) late in 2012, is designed to address issues that impact on women generally and, more specifically, the factors that may keep them them from being sufficiently physically active.

The program, involving 12 inmates at the prison, was put in place after ORS approached the Adelaide Women's Prison.

Team Leader - Industry Development at ORS, Tara Andrews, said the Office saw the program as a good fit for a population group that can face barriers in accessing information on fitness and healthy lifestyle choices.

"Here was a group of women who could benefit from the program and hopefully use some of the techniques and information from the discussion to assist in their lifestyle," Ms Andrews said.

"Of course as we are offering this in a somewhat unusual setting we have had to adjust the course to suit the prison environment," she said. "For example while WISEMOVE is traditionally based on walking, this is really not a practical option so the Adelaide Women's Prison opted for yoga to be the physical activity."

The program which takes a holistic approach to both physical activity and a women's lifestyle aims to provide the women with useful tools and techniques to improve their lifestyle. The AWP program was split into two components - a discussion component and a physical activity component.

"During this time some of the topics we looked at included goal setting, motivation, healthy body, healthy mind and stress management," Ms Andrews said.

"For instance at the half way point we held a healthy eating/healthy weight session and brought in some food to try along with swapping recipes. Really WISEMOVES is about showing options in a fun and practical way."

With the initial program at AWP about to end, Ms Andrews said the feedback from the women has been positive.

"The women reported that they enjoyed the physical activity component and found the discussion topics helpful," she said. "They really seemed to enjoy the yoga and it was great to see their commitment to the whole program.

"Everyone was challenged in one way or another and extended out of their comfort zone. It was great to see a willingness to try new things. I believe the facilitators learnt just as much as the participants. Everyone has benefitted from the program."