Women's Fitness Adventures Gold Coast leader Melissa Pols (third from right) with a group of members on a walk up Currumbin Hill.
Women's Fitness Adventures Gold Coast leader Melissa Pols (third from right) with a group of members on a walk up Currumbin Hill.

Women unite for fitness adventures

DESIGNED by women for women, Women's Fitness Adventures lets you set your own pace to make exercise fun and social.

Gold Coast leader Melissa Pols said the group had grown over the past 12 months from its Brisbane base, spreading mainly by word of mouth.

"The majority of women are 40-plus to 70s, and it's all about getting out and about in a fun, safe, supportive environment," Melissa said. "I think women see things differently to men … they don't just see the finish line and aim to get there as quickly as possible … women are there for the journey. It's a great way for women to take a little time and do something for themselves."

Founder Yvonne Shepherd said her goal in giving up corporate life and starting Women's Fitness Adventures in 2013 was "to embrace life and make it larger each and every day".

She recognised women often feel safer and have more courage to achieve goals - big or small - when they are in a community of like-minded women.

So, the group offers everything from short social walks to serious hikes, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and more, both locally, interstate and around the world.

Whatever the activity, Melissa said, "we start as a group and we finish as a group".

Walk and Talk groups, she said, were great for women starting out or wanting a more social experience.

There are monthly Thursday 10km walks from Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Club and return, and Sundays from Varsity railway station around the lake, in each case stopping halfway for a drink and a chat.

Always passionate about the great outdoors, Melissa said she had initially been prompted to join Women's Fitness Adventures by her son asking what she planned to do now that she had put the family through school.

It was a chance to be more active, make new friends and "clear her mind" from life's stresses.

Having stepped up to the Gold Coast leadership role, she said she loved helping other women become active in a safe, non-competitive way, and they often surprised themselves with what they could achieve.

She was touched by the reaction of one woman, during a West Australian walking trip, who said it had "changed my whole life" and now planned to lose 20 kilos and stand on a glacier to celebrate her 50th birthday, courtesy of the group's upcoming trip to Iceland.

A recent stand-up paddle boarding session with a professional instructor at Budds Beach at Surfers, Melissa said, had really reinforced "just how amazing this group is".

Newcomers didn't stay newcomers for long, Melissa said, and were quickly "in the thick of it" and part of the group because "trust me, these women know how to talk".

There is a special invitation to join the Gold Coast Christmas walk from 7am on Thursday, December 19, meeting at Mervyn Roy's at Bilinga and walking for an hour before enjoying a barbecue breakfast and wandering back.

Cost for the Christmas walk is $10, with the option of annual membership of Women's Fitness Adventures for $165.

To find out more, go to https://womensfitness adventures.com or phone 0412 121 420.

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