Name of research project
What is the project?
A nine-week kick boxing programme which invited Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani ladies to take part to help them improve their health and wellbeing. During the sessions attendees learnt different techniques and self-defence strategies, combined with various cardiovascular exercises and yoga stretches.
When the programme came to an end, an evaluation of the work was carried out which involved all the kick boxing attendees participating in a focus group. The ladies who took part said they felt the sessions had been effective in improving their access to physical activity. As South Asian womens’ access to sport is often restricted by religious and cultural barriers, the provision of a female-only programme carried out by a female coach, made it easier for them to participate.
Some of the women said the programme had boosted their self-confidence, increased physical activity levels, and improved their social network because the sessions gave them the opportunity to meet other women.
What is the aim?
The aim was to engage with South Asian women across Leicester who might find access to sporting activities challenging because of religious and cultural barriers.
With research showing that the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is up to 50 per cent higher in first generation South Asians, when compared to the white European population in the UK, it was hoped the sessions would create a safe and active space for females who wanted to improve their health.
South Asian women are also at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol, all conditions that can be prevented or improved by exercising.
Who is involved?
- Centre for Ethnic Health Research
- ARC East Midlands
- Leicestershire and Rutland Sport Physical Activity and Wellbeing
- Rendall Munroe’s Gym
What are the benefits?
By attracting communities who might usually find accessing exercise classes challenging, the kick boxing sessions improved fitness and self-confidence, while also providing a fun and social gathering for women from similar backgrounds.