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The Sport Information Resource Centre

The sound of pounding drumsticks filled the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Centre Friday as the Faculty of Human Kinetics invited high school girls to explore non-traditional forms of physical activity.

About 200 female Grade 10 students and their teachers participated in a day of Zumba, spin classes, martial arts, and poundfit with drumsticks during Girls in Motion. Paralympian Danielle Campo was the guest speaker, telling the girls how she was on the brink of death after the birth of her daughter only one year ago.

“One of the reasons I am alive today is because I have been active my whole life,” she said.

Girls in Motion aims to combat the slide in physical activity that for many teenaged girls begins after they’ve taken their one compulsory physical education class in Grade 9. The drop in physical becomes even worse after girls graduate high school, said Sarah Woodruff, a UWindsor kinesiology professor who leads Girls in Motion.

“Research shows that teenaged girls are less active than boys,” Dr. Woodruff said. “This puts them at risk later in life for things like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.”

Girls in Motion, founded by now-retired kinesiology professor Marge Holman about 20 years ago, is co-sponsored by Leadership Advancement for Women in Sport, a Windsor-based non-profit organization that helps keep girls and women interested in fitness. Girls in Motion introduces girls to ways of staying active that don’t involve competitive sports.

“My favourite was the poundfit,” said Miranda Martin of North Star High School in Amherstburg. “I had never done that before. It was so much fun.”

Angie Mooney, a gym teacher from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Windsor, said she was thrilled with the enthusiasm of the eight girls she brought with her to the program. “They were totally into it. The girls had fun and they got to try new things.”

The instructors were women ranging in age from their 20s into their senior years.

“We’re trying to show these girls they can stay active throughout their entire lives,” Woodruff said. “We’re trying to empower them to live healthier lives.”

Angela Derbyshire, a student from L’Essor, said she is considering signing up for spin classes after taking her first one at Girls in Motion. “I had no idea what to expect today. I was so surprised to have so much fun,” she said.

The day included a healthy lunch and snacks and free UWindsor swag. The event also gave the girls the opportunity to visit the newly opened Toldo Lancer Centre, the university’s state-of-the-art sports, recreation and fitness facility.

—Sarah Sacheli