Active Maribyrnong hitting the mark on active lifestyles
Published on 22 January 2018
A study by Victoria University has found efforts by Maribyrnong City Council to encourage physical activity is paying off, with participants of Active Maribyrnong reporting continued participation in sports and fitness and an increase in general health.
The University surveyed just under 300 people who had participated in Active Maribyrnong since 2014, and conducted 16 in-depth interviews with participants of the Grants Program and CALD Swim Night, weekly casual swim sessions tailored to people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
A strong result in ongoing participation was recorded, with 44 per cent of respondents stating Active Maribyrnong had influenced them to join a fitness centre, sports club, or other physical activity program.
Dr John Tower, the Chief Investigator for the research said: “The Active Maribyrnong Program has been delivering opportunities for Maribyrnong residents to engage in more physical activity for several years. This research demonstrates that Active Maribyrnong is having a positive impact in the community. The data indicates that participants are increasing their levels of physical activity, the activities are enjoyable and the programs have a positive influence on physical and mental health.”
When asked about other benefits of participating in Active Maribyrnong, 63.4 per cent of respondents stated their fitness levels improved, 53 per cent reported enhanced strength, and 53.9 per cent had more energy. On top of this, over two thirds said their general health status had improved, and 60 per cent believed their mental health was enhanced.
The Active Maribyrnong Grants Program, a financial subsidy to encourage underrepresented young people to join sports clubs in Maribyrnong, along with helping children stay involved in sports, has also had a positive impact on mental health and social connectedness.
As explained by one parent: “[My daughter] used to be shy in situations where she didn’t know anyone. She used to be very shy and all of a sudden would start crying that she doesn’t want to do it… and didn’t know anyone. But now she’s become friends with all these people.”
The CALD Swim Night began as a six-week trial to allow its community members to have private use of the Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre to learn how to swim. 18 months on, the Swim Night is going strong and provides benefits beyond physical activity.
One participant said that the “program definitely [assists] my physical wellbeing, alertness and even concentration.”
“It is for all the community; yes I feel more connected,” another participant said.
Over 15,000 people have participated in Active Maribyrnong programs since it began 3 years ago. The 2017 Spring into Summer series, an Active Maribyrnong program, had over 1,700 registered participants, which was an increase of over 63% from the year prior.
The next Active Maribyrnong program taking place is the Get Active! Expo, which will begin in March. Keep an eye on the Active Maribyrnong website and social media for further updates.
Message from the Mayor, Cr Cuc Lam
Council is thrilled that Active Maribyrnong has enabled thousands of people in our community to improve their health and wellbeing through physical activity. The study results showcase the importance of encouraging people to get active in a fun and engaging way.
We encourage everyone in our community to seize the opportunity to get involved in these popular programs and continue their wellbeing journey well into the future.
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