HOOPLA: Cr Geoff McDonald, centre, with, from left, Shenaed Bliss, Cr James O'Shea, Melanie Siegel from Hoop Groove Move, and
HOOPLA: Cr Geoff McDonald, centre, with, from left, Shenaed Bliss, Cr James O'Shea, Melanie Siegel from Hoop Groove Move, and "ring-in Senior" Helen French, from Mount Pleasant, enjoy some Hula Hooping in Queens Park. COURTESY TRC

CHANGE your path to a healthy lifestyle

IF YOU'RE thinking it's time to make your lifestyle a little brighter and healthier, Toowoomba Regional Council's free and low-cost CHANGE project has a huge range of possibilities for all ages and fitness levels.

Launching the spring-summer directory with a hula hooping session highlighted the diversity on offer and got everyone laughing and breathing.

Toowoomba Regional Council Parks and Recreation portfolio leader Cr Joe Ramia said that while it might sound like child's play, hula hooping (which has been around since 1958) also had benefits for adults.

"Hula Hooping is a great, low-impact activity for strengthening and toning in a fun and social environment," he said.

Melanie Siegel, from Hoop Groove Move, offers the CHANGE project for adults at 11.30am Wednesdays at Queens Park, giving participants of all abilities an introduction to hooping and guiding them through challenges and tricks on how to "hoop at home".

She said it was a great all-over body workout, from exercising your brain to massaging your internal organs, improving cardio, fitness, building core strength, as well as increasing energy and happiness.

For Seniors, it has been shown to be easy on the joints, increase mobility, flexibility and muscle tone and strength, while learning new hoop skills improves cognitive function, particularly when working across both hands and moves that cross your body mid-line.

But if, like me, you have never been able to hula hoop, there is a lot more to CHANGE, including pages of gentle exercise, walking groups and specifically seniors activities alongside those for other family members.

They also include exercises that can be modified to individual health needs and abilities, and lifestyle alternatives such as details of bushcare groups and community gardens.

New providers are also running circuit classes three days a week at Crows Nest Indoor Sports Centre and chair yoga, allowing you to stretch painful muscles in safety, weekly at Highfields Sport and Recreation Centre and Crows Nest Community and RSL Centre.

For more information and to view the full range of CHANGE project activities go to tr.qld.gov.au/change or call 131872.

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