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Many of them are Muslim and can’t swim in co-ed pools. Megan Burks of our media partner, Speak City Heights, tells us how some residents and their local YMCA are getting Muslim women in the water and active this summer.
(Video by Katie Euphrat) Aired 6/28/12 With summer now in full swing, San Diegans are heading to beaches and pools to cool off and get exercise.
They send their male lifeguards home and a female lifeguard and swim instructor clock on for a special after-hours lesson.
About 15 East African women and girls then file through the back doors for a women-only swim class.
The young girls are outfitted with arm floaties and taught to blow bubbles, while their older sisters and moms grasp Styrofoam barbells and cling to the walls to practice kicking. “They have diabetes, high blood pressure, and doctors are telling them all the time, ‘Go exercise,’” said Sahra Abdi, director of United Women of East Africa. ” Modesty required by their faith keep Muslim women from just hopping on the treadmill at their local gym.
“Kids I’ve never seen will walk in and know their way around the pool right away, whereas everybody that comes in will be like, ‘Can we do this? And alternatives like walking through the park on a warm day can be hard because the women must be covered from head to toes.
But for East-African women in City Heights, taking a dip isn’t so easy.
The women also say they worry about safety while they’re walking.