Six Anytime Fitness gyms across Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich will host group fitness classes on Tuesday 2 April, World Autism Awareness Day, with exercise activities designed to raise awareness of the communication, sensory, auditory and visual processing challenges of people on the autism spectrum.
Anytime Fitness Capalaba, Milton, Cleveland, Hamilton, Logan and Goodna will offer the classes a part of Autism Queensland’s annual “Go Blue for Autism” campaign.
Kimberly Leonard, Club Manager of Anytime Fitness Capalaba developed the fitness program to help the world to better understand her son Lochlan, aged 12.
“Anytime Fitness is always looking to champion social justice within the community however Go Blue is a special day close to our heart,” she said.
“Most of the clubs are running the special awareness group fitness classes which will feature a series of exercise stations that highlight things like auditory processing and communication difficulties.
“For example, one exercise will require participants to wear headphones with blaring music while the PT gives verbal instructions to highlight the problems some autistic people have in filtering out background noise. Another will involve balls or streamers being thrown in front of people sporadically during the exercise to distract them and simulate visual overload.
“The event will also include a Chin Up Challenge and 10km Bike Ride Challenge as well as a Nutrition Warehouse ‘Blue Supps’ table and special Go Blue cupcakes available on the day.
“The aim is to not only raise awareness but hopefully have participants leaving with tools to better understand and support others in the community on the spectrum.”
Kimberly said she saw her role as Lochlan’s mum to not only help him make sense of the world but to help educate the world to understand people like Lochlan.
“Go Blue For Autism is our day to stand collectively and do that. Raising funds for services is so imperative, I remember the early days attending the free workshops Autism Queensland offered and they helped make sense of the new path our lives had taken and gave us tools to be able to better support Lochie.
“We have been incredibly lucky with the services and support we have been able to access for Lochie but so many others aren’t in the same position to do so.
“Go Blue is about raising funds and awareness but it’s also a way as a community we get to let those families and individuals that we see them, we’re helping and we’re all in this together,” she said.
Anytime Fitness Go Blue for Autism challenge kicks off on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day. Anyone can attend the class for a gold coin donation. For more information visit Anytime Fitness Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/766627910397277/