Paddle Boarding

Love your watersports or being by the beach (or on the river)? Paddle boarding has a range of health benefits that make it a great activity for your body as well as a splashingly good time.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve tried paddle boarding before, or haven’t heard of it until now. Paddle boarding is low-impact, easy to learn and can be enjoyed as part of a club, socially with friends, or even when you’re craving some me-time outdoors.

On this page we look at:

  • How This Girl Can – Victoria Ambassador Lisa found confidence later in life to get back on the water and combine getting active with her love of the ocean
  • What paddle boarding is, and why it’s great for your body
  • Social paddle boarding and finding a paddle boarding club

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How Lisa built her confidence back to get on the water again with paddle boarding

Although Lisa, 52, grew up around the ocean, it took her years to build the confidence to get back on the water. She always thought she couldn’t stack up to the blokes or stand on a board – but she can! Lisa’s never had body image issues and reckons “a bikini body is just a body you put in a bikini!”

What is stand-up paddle boarding?

As the name suggests, stand-up paddle boarding is a fun activity on the water where you’re standing up on a board. You stand at full height, and use a ‘paddle’ to move your way through the water. It’s also sometimes referred to as just ‘paddle boarding’, or even sometimes it’s just called ‘sup’.

While there are some competitions available, paddle boarding is mostly about enjoying being in touch with the water, and having a great view of the surrounding scenery. You can go at your own pace and it’s gentle on the body.

You might wobble a bit at first as you find your balance, but that’s completely normal! Once you learn to ‘sup’ and pick up some stand-up paddle boarding tips, you’ll be gliding around feeling great.

Finding a paddle boarding group for women and having a go

Here are some tips to get started learning to paddle board and finding groups to connect with.

  • Coasting SUP (Surfing Victoria’s introductory program SUP program for women) is a fun way to find some ‘you time’ in the great outdoors. It provides some paddle boarding classes to get you going, and you can meet some new people too.
  • By searching online you can find a range of companies and organisations offering paddle boarding for women. They’re set up for beginners, and can’t wait to show you a few techniques.
  • There are a range of social paddle boarding groups in Melbourne and regional Victoria. Have a look around a contact your local association or even your local council for more information. Where there’s a river or ocean, there’s usually a paddle boarding group nearby.
  • Once you’ve had a few paddle boarding classes, you can buy your own sup board and head out on your own. How good is that? You can ask your local paddle boarding group or find a local retail store to help you find the best beginner sup board for you.

Finding paddle boarding groups and locations near you

  • Visit the website mentioned on this page: Coasting SUP.
  • Google it! Search to see what paddle boarding classes and groups there are near you. There are a range of beautiful river and beach spots in Victoria, so have a look around to find where to do paddle boarding in an area that’s not too far away.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood, to see if a paddle boarding group has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women about paddle boarding – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Can’t get out right now?

You may not be able to make it out at the moment, or maybe you’re not near water to go paddle boarding. That’s okay, there’s plenty to keep your ‘sup’ dreams alive while you’re at home.

There’s a lot you can learn about stand-up paddle boarding online, so you can watch a few videos to learn some paddle boarding tips and techniques. Or if you love an adventure, you can start researching the best paddle boarding locations to try.

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

There are many activities and water sports you can try to get more active, either by yourself or with friends. Here are some more you might like to have a go at to see what you enjoy doing.

Yoga

Stretch your body and your mind with a touch of yoga in your week. It’ll help you improve your mental wellbeing and your flexibility, while providing you with some much-needed time for yourself.

You can find a yoga class, start trying some yoga poses with friends, or flow using online videos by yourself. It’s easy to get into yoga as a beginner, and even easier to fall into a regular practice.

On this page we look at:

  • Benefits of yoga for women
  • How to find a yoga class near you

Get inspired to do the activities that suit you and keep you feeling good: sign up to our newsletter here.

What benefits does yoga have on the body and mind?

Yoga improves your health and wellbeing in a number of ways, through the practice of a series of physical techniques. This can include breathing, exercise and meditation.

There are so many benefits to yoga for women’s health including:

  • Improving physical strength
  • Increasing your flexibility
  • Helps you to manage stress
  • Re-connects you with your body and mind
  • Relaxes your body, giving you a better night’s sleep

Yoga embraces the idea that it doesn’t matter what your age, ability or background is.

 If you’re looking for a relaxing, life-affirming activity where you can go at your own pace, read on to find out how to get started.

How to find a yoga class or women’s yoga group near you

To find out more about yoga, search online to find  a yoga community that feels right for you.

There are a wide range of yoga studios, gyms and private facilities that offer yoga classes. It’s best to do your own search in your local area, and see where it takes you.

As well as formal yoga classes for women, there are also plenty of social yoga groups around to practice with. There are different ones for each skill level, so if you’re learning yoga for beginners, there are women’s yoga groups for you too.

There are many forms of yoga you can try from different lineages and parts of the world. Yoga doesn’t have to be one thing or another – for example, if Bikram yoga (the hot one!) doesn’t appeal to you, that’s okay. There’s many more to try. Have a look around and see what feels right.

Get out there and find a women’s yoga group near you

  • Google it! There are so many places to learn yoga and get started, even if you haven’t tried it before. Many women who have practiced yoga for years started somewhere too. You don’t need to be an expert at your first yoga class – all that matters if you’re moving your body and have a go at something new.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood: see if there’s a yoga group or association who has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women about finding a yoga community they like – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Can’t get out right now?

If you can’t start yoga with a yoga class in Melbourne or regional Victoria near you, that’s okay – you can do yoga at home!

Check out the free yoga tutorials on our Get Active @ Home hub to give it a try from the comfort of your living room.

You can also search online to find yoga videos to follow along with. All you need is a yoga mat, or you can even use a towel.

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

You can find your flow with more than one activity, and with so many to try, you’re sure to find one you love. Here are a few more you could have a go at to see what you like.

Walking

Take in the fresh air and get moving, perfect if you’re new to exercise or aren’t that interested in sport. Women’s walking groups in Victoria help you to go out and get moving, while being part of a supportive community.

Can you feel it? Join a women’s walking social group and meet new people while getting some movement in your day. Here are some tips to pull on those walking shoes and find one near you.

On this page we look at:

  • This Girl Can Ambassadors Tracy, Mardi and Deb’s stories about enjoying the feelings they get from going walking in Victoria
  • Benefits of walking for women
  • How to find a women’s walking group
  • Discovering new walks to go on

Get inspired to do the activities that suit you and keep you feeling good: sign up to our newsletter here.

Tracy feels tired sometimes, but going for a walk with her dog gives her a boost

Tracy knows having dogs makes all the difference between doing no activity and doing some activity, especially on the days when she’s “really tired”. “You sit on the couch and you’re kinda like ‘oh yeah this is comfy I don’t really want to get up’, but you know that after you walk the dogs you’re going to feel amazing. Not only that, you know they need you to walk them,” Tracy said. Tracy juggles two jobs and knows that having the responsibility to do the right thing by her dogs ensures she does the right thing by herself. “It’s definitely a 50/50 of ok cool I’ve got to get them out to get them moving but I’ve also got to get me moving,” she said.

Health benefits of walking for women

Going for a peaceful walk is an easy way to add some more movement to your day.

Lots of women enjoy walking because they can get some fresh air, have time to themselves and move their body. You can do it with a friend, with coffee, with your kids or with your dog. It’s time for you, and it’s great for physical health and mental wellbeing.

Among some of these benefits are increased cardiovascular fitness, reduced risk of heart disease and lung disease, stronger bones, improved balance, and more strength and endurance.

You don’t need any equipment,  just some walking shoes and comfortable clothing. And you can do as much or as little as you like – if you want to try a hill or go bushwalking down the track, you can.

Finding a walking group for women near you

It doesn’t matter if you’re at the front of the group or the end. When you go for a walk with a group, you’ll have the supportof women who love to get active at their own pace.

You can be any age, background, or body shape. It’s all about getting on your feet, having a chat and making new friends.

If you’d like to find a new walking women’s group to join near you, here are some ways to get started.

  • Heart Foundation walking groups is a great place to start. You can use their group finder to see what’s close to you, and how to join on the next walking women’s group trip they have planned.
  • Victoria Walks also provides free resources and information about women’s walking all over Melbourne and regional Victoria.
  • Escaping Your Comfort Zone run body-positive bushwalking groups and adventures for plus-size women in Melbourne and Geelong.
  • Parks Victoria offers free walks guided by trained volunteers so you can enjoy walking in urban parks or bushland without having to worry about where the trail is or how long it might take.
  • Have a look online to find a women’s walking social group in your area. You’ll be surprised at how many there are, and they’re all super friendly and welcoming to new walkers.

Mardi enjoys bushwalking to connect with nature again

Mardi loves to go bushwalking and says it makes her feel grounded and connected to nature. “When you start to listen to all the natural sounds and feel the grass, you can forget about things like traffic and being on time…it does give you a very wholesome feeling.”

Walking maps and finding great walks in Victoria

There are so many amazing walking trails in Melbourne and regional Victoria. If you feel like a change of scenery, or are up for some weekend adventures, try a new walking track.

Visit Victoria offers a great range of walking maps to help you explore the state.

If bushwalking sounds like fun, Bushwalking Victoria has some great walking maps and resources, and ways to get involved in social bushwalking.

Deb started walking and getting active to be a role model for her daughter

It wasn’t until Deb’s daughter asked her to do a handstand that she realised she couldn’t. Determined to be the best parent she could, Deb wanted to get active and started walking before breakfast. She was initially embarrassed about getting out there and puffing up the hills, but it’s now part of her daily routine.

Getting involved in social walking, or finding a new walking trail

Can’t get out right now?

If you can’t make it outside at the moment, that’s okay. There’s plenty to keep us busy at home sometimes.

If you’re looking to get active, visit Get Active @ Home for some fun and easy home workouts to get you sweating and feeling good. You can also prepare for when you can go out by searching online for the best walks in Victoria. Then you’ll be extra excited to go walking when you can head out for a while!

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

There are many other activities you can have a shot at to get more movement in your day. Here are a few ideas if you feel like trying something new.

Surfing

Surf’s up! Immerse yourself in the ocean and learn to shred some waves, while making new friends and getting a great workout. With many Victorians living close to the coastline, surfing is a skill that can stay with you for life and it’s never too late to learn.

While you might think surfing is a skill you can’t master – think again! There’s a whole range of women’s surfing communities ready to welcome you and teach you how to surf.

On this page we look at:

  • How This Girl Can – Victoria Ambassador Emmie overcame her fear of looking silly surfing and learned to enjoy just being out there
  • Learning to surf with women’s surf lessons
  • Not ready to learn surfing quite yet? Learn paddle boarding and find a local group
  • What This Girl Can – Victoria Ambassador Lisa thinks of ‘bikini bodies’ and who the ocean is for.
  • Find a women’s surfing group near you
  • Can’t get out right now? At-home tips

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Emmie overcame her fear of looking silly surfing and learned to enjoy just being out there

Emmie, 35, loved her water sports, but as she got older a fear of looking silly got in the way. One day, a friend convinced Emmie to give surfing a go and she immediately loved the challenge. It doesn’t matter if she looks ‘silly’ – even if she stands up for only a second, Emmie feels a real sense of accomplishment.

Learning to surf with women’s surf lessons

You might have been a surfer before, had a few surf lessons once or you might be a complete beginner. Wherever you’re at, that’s okay. You can learn to surf or return to it at any age. Here are some steps to get on that board and out in the surf:

  • Surfing Victoria offers some free resources about coaching and surfing lessons for women, and it’s a great place to start to see what’s happening near you.
  • Have a look around online to find surfing lessons and surf groups for women in your area. They’re set up for teaching surfing to beginners, so don’t worry – they’re ready to work with you to show you the ropes.
  • Ask at your local surf shop about women’s surfing classes and programs. They sometimes offer surf lessons themselves, or can refer you somewhere they know.
  • There are a range of women’s surfing groups in Victoria that love to welcome new members. Have a look around online to find some surfing communities that you might like to join, who share your passion for waves – and can help you learn some new surfing tips and tricks too. 

Not ready to learn surfing quite yet? Learn paddle boarding and find a local group

Stand-up paddle boarding is a fun activity on the water that’s low-impact and easy to pick up. It can be a great full-body workout as well, and you can go at your own pace. In fact, most people paddle board just to enjoy the scenery around them!

Paddle boarding, also called ‘sup’, is a water activity where you stand up on a board, specifically made, and use an oar to push yourself forward. It can be as hard or as easy as you like, making it great for all ages.

Coasting SUP (Surfing Victoria’s introductory program SUP program for women) is a great place to get started if stand-up paddle sounds like fun. You’ll get that much needed ‘me time’ outdoors, and can meet people with social paddle boarding groups.

What Lisa thinks of ‘bikini bodies’ and who the ocean is for

At first, Lisa was hesitant to give surfing a go, purely because she thought it was something only men did. “There is a lot of testosterone out in the water, and some days you can really feel it,” she said. “But the ocean belongs to everybody… it doesn’t belong to a particular gender.” These days, Lisa is carving up the waves and loving every second of it.

Find a women’s surfing group near you

  • Visit the websites mentioned on this page: Surfing Victoria or Coasting SUP.
  • Google it! There are plenty of surf schools for women and girls, and women’s social surfing groups out there. Have a look online to see what’s in your local area. Whether you’re surfing at 60 years old or learning to surf at age 40 or even 20, all that matters is enjoying the process and having some fun.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood: see if there’s a surfing club or local association who has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women about their experiences with surfing – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Can’t get out right now?

If you’re not able to make it out to the beach to get your surf on, that’s okay. There’s plenty of other ways to get active and keep learning some surfing skills at home.

A great way to learn surfing or practice surfing tips and skills without the water is at home. Surf Better Now offers online coaching, You can find a great range of online videos with techniques to work on at home, so you can keep learning to surf – without the water!

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

You may also want to look at some other sports you can try to get moving in a way that you enjoy. As Tiff says, it’s not always about winning. It’s about how it feels, and giving something new a go!

Running

Running and jogging are great ways to get fit. Whether you’re just starting out or getting back into it, there are many ways to get into running and find a women’s running or social jogging group to work up a sweat with.

The best thing about running is you can do it for your own reasons. Whether it’s for fitness, fun or how it feels, running is a great activity for women to get into. Plus, you get to explore your local area while doing it.

On this page we look at:

  • This Girl Can Ambassador Kirsten and Brenda’s stories about discovering running and how it makes them feel
  • The health benefits of running
  • How to learn running for women and become a runner
  • Joining a local women’s running group or social running community

Get inspired to do the activities that suit you and keep you feeling good: sign up to our newsletter here.

After finding running in her thirties, Kirsten loves her weekly women’s running group

Growing up as someone who preferred all kinds of other extra-curricular activities over sport, Kirsten found her running rhythm in her thirties. Now she loves her weekly ‘5am Sisters’ running group of Indigenous women who “pump each other up” and run to feel good rather than chasing the unattainable “Beyoncé body.” How does she feel about running now compared with when she was growing up? “I mean for one I feel tired,” she laughed, “but I feel strong and powerful.”



The benefits of running for women

Running down the street or a kilometres might seem like a challenging task at first, but once you learn how to run and get into it, you’ll be surprised at what your body can do.

  • There are lots of benefits of running for women too, including:Improving cardiovascular fitness
  • Strengthening muscles
  • Building healthy bones
  • Reducing the risks of heart disease
  • Enhancing mental wellbeing
  • Improving your sleep and energy levels throughout the day

If running sounds like an activity you’d like to try, read on. Remember, the first step can sometimes be the hardest! After that, it’s all downhill (unless of course, you come across a hill on your run).

Brenda started walking, then eventually began loving her runs

After high school, Brenda had a 15-year break where she “didn’t do anything”. Then she slowly started getting active again by walking first, then running. Now Brenda loves the supportive Parkrun community and says it doesn’t matter how fast you walk or run, how much you jiggle, how grey your hair is or how daggy your clothes are – “there’s no judgement”.

How to start running for beginners

How can you learn to run in Melbourne or regional Victoria? Whether you’d like to know how to start running from scratch, start running late in life or for the first time in years, there’s a program or running class available to teach you the basics.

Search online to find local women’s running classes near you. A lot of private running coaches and specialist organisations offer running clinics and lessons that are designed for women who are just starting out.

If you’re practicing on your own, running apps can be fantastic for motivation and monitoring your progress.

 Your age, background and speed don’t matter.  The best way to learn how to start running from scratch is to find a local program or trainer, and give it a go.

Joining a women’s running or jogging social group

Some women like to go running on their own, and others enjoy running with friends or a group. If you haven’t tried running or jogging with a group before, you could give it a try when you feel ready.

Parkrun organises free, weekly, timed 5km runs open to everyone. It’s perfect for beginners looking for a way to get into running for the first time, and women getting back into running after a break.

Another way to get started is Run Like a Girl Australia. They provide courses for women learning to run for the first time, with casual group running sessions so you can meet some supportive women to make the journey even better!

Find a women’s running or jogging community or learn how to run

  • Visit the websites mentioned on this page: Parkrun or Run Like a Girl Australia.
  • Google it! There are many ways to start running for girls and women, and you don’t need to get lessons if you don’t want to. If it feels right, get out there and go at your own pace in your local area. You can always attend a running class or join a group later.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood, to see if a women’s running group has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women about running – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Can’t get out right now?

If you can’t make it outside at the moment, that’s okay. There’s plenty of other ways you can get active and enjoy how it feels to include more movement in your day.

There are some great workouts on Get Active @ Home that you can try in your own time. They’re a great way to get a sweat up with some low-impact movements. You can also use the time inside to research some new places to go running – just make sure you stay safe and stick to areas you feel comfortable running in.

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

More inspiration

Hear the stories of women just like you who have decided to put on their running shoes and give it a go.

Jessica, a proud Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta woman, says running helped her get through a tough time in her life. Growing up in country Victoria, Jessica had played sport, but got caught up as a teenager making the wrong decisions. Then, a friend encouraged her to get active and start running. Now, she’s aiming to get her mob moving too and use running as a tool to heal and stay active.
Danielle used to enjoy cross-country running, but she’d had kids and life got busy with work and family. Danielle was born with a benign brain tumour and two years ago, had it removed. She decided running was part of her recovery. She was worried she wouldn’t be able to do it, but she used running as a way to take back control in her life.
Neslihan, 34 was always discouraged from playing sport. Because of her vision impairment, Neslihan’s parents feared she’d get hurt. So it wasn’t until she was in her thirties that she began to run. She wasn’t confident and initially started walking, tethered to a friend. Then she became hooked. Neslihan loves the freedom she feels whenever she’s running.

There are many other activities or sports you can have a shot at, if you want to try something else. Remember, it doesn’t matter what you look like, or if you don’t know all the moves yet. All that matters is you’re giving it a go.

Australian Rules Football

Has the AFLW league inspired you to pick up a footy? You’re not alone! Many Victorian women are taking up Aussie Rules Football and having an absolute blast.

Australian Rules Football training sessions for women provide a high-intensity workout that gives you the chance to run, kick and handball like the best of them. Have a go and see if you enjoy it!

On this page we look at:

  • How This Girl Can – Victoria Ambassadors Angela, Nida and Sue found new confidence and friends playing Aussie Rules Football
  • Getting started and finding a women’s AFL club
  • More ways to get involved with social groups and non-contact rules

Get inspired to do the activities that suit you and keep you feeling good: sign up to our newsletter here.

Angela isn’t going to let a fear of looking silly hold her back!

Angela thought she was too uncoordinated to play sport. Until she saw her sister run a marathon, and realised she could too! Recently she started playing football in a women’s team. Angela says she alternates between absolute exhilaration and fear of making a fool of herself, but that’s not going to stop her.



Find a women’s AFL club near you and have your first kick

Play AFL is the best place for beginners to find a local AFL women’s team near them to get started. All of the clubs all very welcoming, and love the chance to meet new women who enjoy the game (or are interested in trying it) and are willing to have a go.

If you never thought you’d be able to pick up a football, read on. There are so many opportunities, with clubs running training sessions that teach AFL for women to learn new skills. Here’s how to play AFL, even if you’re just starting out.

Even AFLW players like Daisy Pearce, Moana Hope and Tayla Harris started at these clubs, and had to learn the ropes as well.

AFL women’s clubs offer a range of local programs to help you learn the game. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or a senior, there’s a place for you!

There are a range of formats and competitions to play in. From Auskick for young kids just learning the basics, to social modified rules games and competitive leagues for teenagers and adults, there are opportunities to play AFL for girls and women all over Victoria.

Nida had never even watched a game before she tried AFL after moving to Australia

Nida, 31, had never even watched a game of Aussie Rules before joining a women’s footy team. New to Australia, she joined a Pakistani women’s football team and never expected the benefits she’s got. Even though the team finished bottom of the ladder, they sang and danced after every game.

Social footy for women in Melbourne and regional Victoria

Another way to learn AFL and get used to the game is to find some social women’s AFL groups.

As well as the official teams and competitions, there’s a range of associations and local communities that organise casual games that women can get involved in.

AFL 9s is another form of the game that’s all about having fun, and grabbing a meal with your team after the game. There are 9 players per team, and it’s played on a square field that’s a bit smaller than a soccer field. It’s non-contact and similar to touch football, so it’s suitable for everyone – check it out!

Sue was told she couldn’t play Aussie rules growing up. Now, nothing can stop her

Sue always wanted to play Australian Rules Football, but was repeatedly told she couldn’t – at school, by her dad and even by her daughter. Inspired by the launch of AFLW, at 53 years old Sue finally made her footy debut. “God I wish this had been around when I was a kid ‘cause I’d have been there in a flash,” she said. Sue has continued to play alongside five of the women she met at the original ‘come and try’ day for AFL Women’s Masters.

Learn AFL and find a women’s AFL group near you

  • Visit the websites mentioned on this page: Play AFL or AFL 9s.
  • Google it! Find a club or group playing AFL for women. Or you could find a place to grab a footy and practice some moves.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood: see if there’s a women’ AFL club that has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women about playing Aussie rules footy – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Can’t get out right now?

It might not be the right time to head out and play Aussie rules with a group or join a women’s AFL team. That’s okay, there can be plenty to keep you busy at home.

The great thing about AFL is there are many things you can do inside to get started, or practice your skills. If you’re yet to get out there, you can research beginner football clubs in Melbourne or near you and find one to try. Or you can pick up a footy from the store and try out some handballing.

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

You may also want to look at some other sports you can try to get moving in a way that you enjoy. As Sue says, don’t let fear of how you look from holding you back trying new things and getting active!

Home Exercise

You don’t have to leave home to get active and move your body. There are a range of online workouts available for women that you can complete at home – when and where it works best for you.

If you can’t get out right now or have limited time available, home workouts are perfect to get some movement in your day. There are workouts ranging from easy and low-impact to more challenging ones, and there are home exercise activities to suit all ages and ability levels.

On this page we look at:

  • This Girl Can Ambassador Sana’s story about how exercising at home has helped her build strength after having kids
  • Tips for starting home exercise
  • Finding home exercise programs for women

Get inspired to do the activities that suit you and keep you feeling good: sign up to our newsletter here.

Sana discovered home workouts could help her manage stress after she became a mother

After her first child, Sana realised she needed to get stronger physically and mentally. “Stress comes with the job of motherhood, and stress is a physical thing, so you need a physical outlet for it”. Now Sana does strength training at home while her baby is sleeping: “My second child has not been an easy baby from day one, but I’ve been able to handle it better.”

Getting started with home exercise

We are all in different situations – whether that be age, background, ability level, mobility or phase of life. That’s okay! If you want to get more activity in your day and improve your health and mental wellbeing, home exercise is a great place to start.

By getting in even a small amount of exercise, you can improve your core strength, balance and coordination, get some more energy in your day, and re-discover how good being active makes you feel.

Here are some tips for starting home exercise:

  • Try a few online home exercises classes, from a short yoga routine to dancing around the living room, to see what you enjoy. Find a space you can use every time. Any room in the house will do!
  • Start small.  Take your time. It might be a matter of trying a short class once a week, then you can add to it later. Go at your own pace!
  • Get creative with home exercise equipment! You don’t need to buy expensive equipment – a couple of cans of tomatoes can make the perfect weight set.Find a friend or join a group. Doing a home workout can be even better when you have some support. If you’re not working out with someone else, you could also try joining the This Girl Can – VIC community  of women online to share small wins and encourage each other.

You can do a home workout in your lunch break, early in the morning, or after the kids are in bed. Remember, you don’t have to know all the moves or get it right all at once. All that matters if you’re giving it a go, and enjoying how it makes you feel.

Home exercise routines you can try right now

You can find a wide range of online programs for women to exercise at home.

Get Active @ Home is a great place to start. You’ll find a diverse selection of videos with free home exercises you can do without equipment, ranging from 5 minutes to over 30 minutes long. The online home workout library has:

  • Home exercises for beginners
  • Full-body exercises at home
  • Dance classes
  • Pilates, yoga and barre classes for beginners
  • Gentle resistance movements
  • Mobility and strength exercises

Finding at-home exercise routines for beginners can be a matter of looking around, trying a few out and seeing how you feel. Search online to find a women’s home exercise club online to see what is out there that works best for you. You might even make some new friends!

How to start exercising at home today

  • Visit the website mentioned on this page: Get Active @ Home.
  • Google it! You’ll find many new communities of women out there getting active at home like you. Once you know what home exercise activities you like most, you can find more of them online.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood, to see if a home exercise studio has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women about home exercise – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

There are a broad number of activities you can do from home. Here are a few ideas you can try to get active and enjoy the feeling of more movement in your day.

Basketball

Enjoy the idea of getting active on court and being part of a team? Try giving women’s basketball a shot!

If you’re returning to playing a sport after a break, basketball is a great way to get moving again and make some new friends along the way. You can play social basketball at a club, shoot hoops with a friend, or even practice by yourself.

On this page we look at:

  • How This Girl Can – Victoria Ambassador Tiff met like-minded friends through basketball.
  • How to learn basketball for women
  • Playing at your own pace, in your own way
  • How This Girl Can – Victoria Ambassador Sabrin fit in, even though she was told she couldn’t play because she’s a girl
  • How to find a team or court near you
  • Can’t get out right now? At-home tips

Get inspired to do the activities that suit you and keep you feeling good: sign up to our newsletter here.

How basketball helped Tiff meet like-minded friends

Tiff has enjoyed playing women’s social basketball in Melbourne for the social connection, as well as the physical activity. “Playing basketball you have 5 people on a team, so that’s at least 4 other friends.” As a gay woman on a diverse team, Tiff found she always felt included: “We break the gender barrier, so there’s non-binary, there’s trans and it doesn’t matter – we’re all human we all crave love and affection”. “It’s not always about winning, it’s about how you feel inside,” Tiff said.

 

How to learn to play basketball

Whether you’ve watched the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) and want to get in on the fun, or you want to see how it feels to get active on a court, there are many ways to get involved.

Inclusive basketball programs

A great place to start and learn basketball in Melbourne and regional Victoria is with one of Basketball Victoria’s range of all abilities basketball programs.

Social basketball is a popular game, and chances are there is a social basketball competition for women near you. There are many associations and organisations that run these competitions, so contact your local providers to find out more.

The great thing about basketball is you don’t have to join a club or team unless you want to. For a fun way to get moving, you can simply grab a basketball and head to your local park – plenty have dedicated basketball courts you can use. You can go on your own or with a friend to practice and take some shots.

Play basketball at your own pace, your own way

There are many different forms of basketball to choose from, with different levels you can play at, from social to competitive.

Walking basketball

If you’re looking for a sport that’s not as fast-paced, walking basketball might be for you. It’s a slower, low-impact introduction to basketball. It’s a social game too, making it a fantastic sport to get moving again after a break and meet others.

Wheelchair basketball

Wheelchair basketball is another form of the game you can try with modified rules.

There are many ways to get involved in basketball for women. It doesn’t matter what your age, body shape, background or ability is. All that matters is you’re having a try and having some fun in the process.

How basketball helped Sabrin fit in, even though she was told she couldn’t play because she’s a girl

Sabrin, 20, had always been told she couldn’t play basketball because she was a girl. But coming from South Sudan, she had played some before and knew she loved honing her skills. For Sabrin, “it was a sport I could play wherever we went and helped me fit in.” She says it’s common to feel insecure about yourself when practicing in public, but that doesn’t need to prevent you from giving it a go. “I like playing basketball, and I like going out. Who’s to stop you?”

How to find a team or court near you

  • Visit the websites mentioned on this page: all abilities basketball programs, walking basketball or wheelchair basketball.
  • Google it! Search to see what other basketball courts or clubs there are near you.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood: see if there’s a basketball club near you who has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Can’t get out right now?

If you can’t join a ‘tip-off’ (how a game starts in the middle of the court) in a local basketball community just yet, there are things you can do to get moving and have some fun on your own or with a friend.

The great thing about basketball is you can pick up a ball and practice some moves at home. You can find basketball classes and coaching videos online, so you can always check those out now and if you get a chance and want to play with a group later, you can do that too.

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

You may also want to look at some other sports you can try to get moving in a way that you enjoy. As Tiff says, it’s not always about winning. It’s about how it feels, and giving something new a go!

Cycling

Enjoy riding around the block, commuting on a bike or sweating through a spin class? Read our tips or join one of the many women’s cycling groups in Melbourne and regional Victoria. Social cycling in particular can be as fun or as practical as you like. It’s a way to socialise while getting some movement in your day with other like-minded women – of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels.

On this page we look at:

  • How This Girl Can Ambassador Tiffany found a way to explore new parts of Melbourne with cycling after moving from overseas
  • How to start cycling if you’re a beginner
  • Finding a women’s cycling group near you
  • This Girl Can Ambassador Tina’s tips for women starting cycling

Get inspired to do the activities that suit you and keep you feeling good: sign up to our newsletter here.

Cycling helped Tiffany to discover new areas after moving from overseas

Tiffany got a bicycle for Christmas when she was in her late twenties, just after she moved to Melbourne from Taiwan. Now she loves cycling and the access it’s given her to “tucked away places” in her new city and feels passionate about encouraging more Asian women to be active. Cycling has also plugged her into the local community: “You don’t have to know each other – you just feel it.” … “It’s nice to cycle around, particularly when the weather’s great. I can feel the wind in my hair. It feels really good.”

Cycling classes and how to start cycling

If cycling sounds like an activity you’re interested in trying, that’s great. It’s a fun way to be active and get some exercise, and you can go cycling by yourself, with friends and family, or in a group.

There are many women’s cycling groups that offer learn to ride programs for first starters.

You can also find a range of resources and cycling classes for beginners by searching online. Bike shops, universities and other private organisations offer cycling lessons if you’re new and need a leg up to get moving.

As well as the basics of the bike, you also need to know the road rules. Bicycle Network offers free resources to get you started and learn more about how to get the best bike for you.

Finding a social women’s cycling group, or go cycling just for you

One of the best parts of women’s cycling is going for a ride with others. There are lots of women’s bike rides around that are social, fun, and help new riders learn.

Look online to find  cycling clubs, women’s cycling social groups, and plenty of beginnergroups too for those finding their feet.

If you’d prefer to go cycling by yourself or with someone you know, there are many resources available to show you the best cycling locations. Visit Victoria has some great information about where to go cycling, and you can pick up some handy route maps from VicRoads too.

Tina’s cycling for beginners tips for women

When This Girl Can Ambassador Tina, 54, was cycling for the first time, she almost gave up. Then several female cyclists zoomed by. It inspired her!

Six months later, she’d bought a new bike and started training for a big ride. Despite heckling from dudes about “fat chicks” wearing lycra, Tina chooses to wear lycra no matter what!

Here are some top tips from Tina for women jumping on a bike for the first time:

  • Don’t feel worried if you don’t know some of the rules, or how to change a flat tyre.  This comes with time and experience.
  • It’s normal to feel nervous being on the bike. It’s kind of expected, really!
  • If you’re not sure that you can make it up a steep ride or hill, it’s okay to get off and walk.
  • Riding is about being in the moment and enjoying yourself. It’s okay to do things your way.

Next steps to get into women’s cycling

  • Visit the websites mentioned on this page:  Bicycle Network, Visit Victoria or VicRoads.
  • Google it! You might not believe it, but there are social women’s cycling groups everywhere in cities and regional areas in Victoria.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood to see if a women’s cycling community has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women about women’s bike rides – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about trying it together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Can’t get out right now?

There are many ways to learn to ride and get into women’s cycling groups. If you can’t get out right now, that’s okay.

If you have access to a gym, you can try a spin class or cardio class, or jump on a free bike on the gym floor. If you have a bike of your own, you can buy an indoor bicycle trainer, which keeps the back wheel propped up. This means you can ride to your heart’s content at home – you just won’t technically go anywhere!

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

Cycling is a great way to get active and enjoy the surrounding areas with family and friends. If you want to try another activity or sport too, here are some ideas:


Gym

Whether it’s weights, cardio or group fitness classes, there’s something at the gym to suit every age and ability level.

There’s so much you can do at the gym to improve your health, build power and strength, and feel the benefits of a great workout. Here are some tips to find a gym for you, and how to get started.

On this page we look at:

  • This Girl Can Ambassador Amy’s story about overcoming a feeling of embarrassment when she first started at the gym
  • Starting at the gym for beginners
  • Finding a women’s gym near you
  • How to join a gym

Get inspired to do the activities that suit you and keep you feeling good: sign up to our newsletter here.

Amy felt embarrassed going to the gym at first, but soon realised she had a choice

Amy, 37, loved dancing and basketball as a girl. But as she got older she felt embarrassed exercising. After a health scare, she hit the gym but was so embarrassed she wore tights under baggy tracksuit pants – even in the middle of summer. “Everyone has self-doubt,” she says. “It’s just whether you allow it to grow, which is a choice you make”.

Starting at the gym for beginners

Gyms can be very welcoming and supportive places for women to get active in a way that suits them. Each gym and fitness club is different, but most offer a range of options to work up a sweat, and meet a community of women who are in the same boat as you.

Many gyms offer a timetable of gym classes each week, all with a different focus. Some can be low-impact with stretching and yoga moves, others can focus on cardio by using a stationary bike or other equipment, and others can include weights to improve your strength.

Gym classes are set up for beginners, unless the class is described otherwise. They’re popular with many women as they’re a social way to enjoy going to the gym, t with all the equipment provided, and you get lots of support from friendly trainers to show you how to do each movement.

Gyms have plenty of equipment that you can use when it suits you (with no classes), and a personal trainer can set up a personalised program and walk you through using the machines.

Finding a women’s gym near you

Gyms can be a matter of what feels right, so it might take a few visits to find the best gym near you. Here are some tips for a successful search.

Check out the gym online

A good starting point is to search online for gyms in your area, and see what their facilities are as well as what gym classes for women they offer. Don’t know where to begin? YMCA Victoria and Belgravia Leisure have gyms across Victoria.

Women’s only gyms in Melbourne and regional Victoria

Some gyms have female only areas, however there are also a range of female only gyms in Melbourne and regional Victoria. Gyms for women have a focus on providing a welcoming, inclusive and non-judgmental experience from the moment you walk in the door.

It’s all about you

Finding the right gym or facility near you is all about preference. Head in, check it out, try a class or two and see if it feels good.

How to join a gym

Gyms offer a number of different membership types. You can go online to see timetables and facilities, but sometimes it’s best to walk in and have a look at the place yourself.

Most gyms will offer a tour which will show you what they can offer, and what the vibe is like. Some gyms might feel a bit too intense for what you’re looking for, and others might not have the equipment or classes you’d like to try.

You can usually have a trial at a gym when you first start. This is a good opportunity to get a feel for it so you can make a decision on whether you’d like to go again. If you do, you can sign up for weekly, monthly or annual memberships. Most offer casual rates too, which means you can pay per visit.

Remember that if you try a gym and don’t feel it’s right for you, that’s totally fine. You can try another one in your area – they aren’t all the same.

Finding your new women’s gym community

  • Visit the website mentioned on this page: YMCA Victoria and Belgravia Leisure.
  • Google it! Check out the female gyms near you, mark a few down on a list and go and visit them all. If the first one isn’t for you, that’s okay. It’s part of the process! Sometimes it can take one or two to find a supportive, welcoming gym for women that you feel comfortable at.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood, to see if a women’s gym has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women about going to the gym – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Can’t get out right now?

If you can’t make it to the gym or can’t start having a look at them right now, that’s okay. There are many ways to get started at home.

You can find some great workouts on Get Get Active @ Home. They’re fun, can be easy or intense depending on what you’re looking for, and a great way to get some movement in your day without leaving the front door. You can also get some home gym equipment too.

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

Why try one activity when you can try a few? If you’d like to have a go at something else, here are some you can have a shot at and see how you feel.