Wise Women Work Out

At TYO, we take a multigenerational approach to healthy living. We know that educating children isn’t enough, and that those lessons are lost without a supportive home environment. The Women’s Group started as a way to complement the lessons that children were learning at TYO by educating mothers of children in our programs. Schools in Palestine don’t focus on health, so for many of our women, these classes are the first time they have heard some of the basic health principles that American students get yearly in school. Eleanor Fitness

As interns, we co-teach twice weekly fitness classes for The Women’s Group. The fitness classes are more than just workouts; we teach the women to approach health as a holistic practice that must include physical activity, nutrition, hygiene, and other skills like stress management. In these classes, we educate the women about the importance of a balanced diet and how to eat nutritiously for their health, and the health of their families. We also lead the women in various workouts, integrating activities that are both challenging and fun such as relay races, zumba, freeze dance, and yoga. We emphasize safe ways to exercise and teach the women about knowing their limits, setting goals, and other skills that will help them take care of their bodies in the future.

Talking with one of the long-time translators for The Women’s Group at TYO, we found that the women do make important changes over time as a result of their participation in fitness classes. Previously, the women allowed their kids to eat unlimited amounts of junk food, but now, “The women make their kids drink milk every morning, eat fruit, and give them a balanced diet.” The impact on their children is critical, and the message that you need good nutrition and exercise to be healthy is already showing results.

However, the women still need to hear this message about themselves. The effort to encourage the women to continue with fitness and nutrition at home is ongoing and we look forward to working with the women as the session continues.

Kyra and Liz Fitness participants

The women love to be together and have fun at fitness classes. They come for the friendship and fitness, and leave with better health, more knowledge, and an open door of possibilities for the future.

- Kyra, Liz, Debra and Eleanor are Summer 2013 interns in Nablus.