In just three weeks Liahna Paulson has lost six kilograms simply through diet and exercise.
Liahna is one of small group of local Indigenous women aged from 31 to 81 who weekly meet at the Forster Private Hospital hydrotherapy pool for an hour of water aerobics, under the expertise of exercise physiologist, Troy Tycehurst.
A chronic asthmatic, Liahna also has dramatically reduced the use of her inhaler; sometimes she doesn't even need to use it.
The youngster of the group - the majority are aged in the 70s-80s - Liahna ducks away during her lunch hour at Homebase Youth Service, Tuncurry workplace for the twice weekly sessions.
But, Liahna isn't the only member of the seven-member team who has lost weight, with one woman taking off a whopping 15 kilograms.
Exercising in the pool takes weight off the joints; being in the water they only have 10-15 per cent of their body weight and it allows them to move more freely.Troy Tycehurst
Part of the hospital's allied health team, Troy said hydrotherapy exercise had a multitude of advantages, including the management of diabetes and weight management.
"Exercising in the pool takes weight off the joints; being in the water they only have 10-15 per cent of their body weight and it allows them to move more freely," he said.
"And, exercise helps regulate blood sugar, enabling diabetes management."
Janice Paulson got the group together after finding inspiration from a couple of friends who had benefitted from undertaking water aerobics following a hospital stay.
Janice said many Indigenous people were more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, heart disease and diabetes.
The initial eight-week program has been partly funded through a State government primary health care package and Tobwabba Aboriginal Medical Service, Forster.
However, the women have enjoyed their exercise program and the resulting benefits so much they plan to continue.
"We are getting results; our health and mobility, we are socialising and having conversations,"Janice said.
But, it hasn't been easy, she said.
"The (water) resistance is strong and it makes you work hard; we do what we can in the water.
"We all want the same thing."
The laughter, smiles and excited chatter is an fare indication the woman are certainly enjoying their time in the 32 degree water, often singing and bobbing along to their favourite music, specifically selected by the women for the program.
Forster hospital has a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool available for community groups and inpatient rehabilitation patients.
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