Walking towards a healthier community

Terry Charles is leading the Watergardens Walkers to better health and stronger relationships. The 51-year-old volunteer organises Watergardens’ weekly walking sessions around the centre, which will see strangers united by a shared goal of getting active and meeting new friends. A graduate of the Western Bulldog’s Sons of the West program, Terry sees leading group exercise as an important way to give back to the community. “It helps people out of depression and helps to change lifestyles,” he says.

 

Terry has fought his own battles with depression. In 2014, he found himself overeating and rapidly gaining weight after losing his father. It was through joining the Sons of the West’s mental health and exercise sessions that he found the motivation to get off the couch. Terry has since remained in the organisation, stepping up to leadership roles. “My first year in the leadership role, a bloke told me about how he used to smoke 20-30 cigarettes a day, but since participating in the group, was down to four a day and about to give it all up,” he says. “The Sons of the West group has really helped create a positive lifestyle.”

 

Terry has always found community in sports. As a youngster, he was involved with the YMCA as a young leader, and in the early 2000s, was a FISAF national aerobics champ. Now, one of his many goals is to break the Heart Foundation’s Walking Group record of 65 participating members (currently held by the Highfield Hoofer’s Walking Group in Queensland). With 25 people signed up for the Watergardens Walkers debut walking session, the target is well in reach. “We can definitely do it!” he enthuses. “I feel very proud of myself to get out there. I’m doing this for myself and for the community.”

The Watergardens Walkers set off every Thursday night at 7pm. Meet at the Information Desk, located across from The Cupcake Queens. Learn more and register here or email Terry directly for more information (terrycharles66@iinet.net.au).

Watergardens Walkers Session 1 Thursday 7 June