Changing Places - Fitness League

MaryAnne Church

A weekly fitness programme to suit all ages and abilities is launching in Wellsford this week.
MaryAnne’s Fitness League classes already run in Matakana and Warkworth, and she is now adding a session at Wellsford Community Centre on Wednesday mornings.

MaryAnne says her hour-long classes consist of fun, low impact exercises set to music, which improve mobility, core strength, balance, fitness and co-ordination.

“Even if you haven’t exercised before and you don’t feel fit, anyone can participate at any age and stage of life,” she says. “It’s inexpensive, and a fun and healthy way to meet and make friends.”

MaryAnne has lived in the region for more than 30 years and is no stranger to Wellsford – she taught at the primary school for many years, and lived for a time in Whangaripo. She has also worked as a family support worker at Springboard in Snells Beach, where she now lives. Her switch to teaching Fitness League classes was something of a happy accident, she says.

“I was first introduced to Fitness League when my friend asked me to come along to ‘Health & Beauty’ (which is what it used to be called). I thought I was going to relax with a facial, manicure and pedicure,” she says. “But when I walked through the doors and saw all the ladies in tights and bare feet, I realised I was in for more than I expected … And I loved it! Finally, I’d found the first fitness programme that left me feeling invigorated at the end of an hour’s exercise. I felt really great.”

MaryAnne immediately thought this was something she wanted to do more of, and signed up to train and become a teacher.

Fitness League is a global movement that dates back to the 1930s, when Mary Bagot Stack established a system to improve fitness, wellbeing and the social lives of women. While times have certainly changed, the principles of body alignment, posture, breathing patterns, joint mobilisation, muscle strength, stretching, co-ordinated movement and relaxation remain at the core of Fitness League.


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