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EXERCISE THE MIND: TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga teacher Simone O’Mara has shared her story of how fitness helped her overcome adversity.
Simone O’Mara lives by a philosophy both powerful and simple: strength doesn’t come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t.
Her mantra was forged through a heartbreaking series of personal losses– the death of her father, grandfather, grandmother, mother-in-law and a close friend within the space of 18 months.
But rather than let the grief consume her, the mum-of-three made a conscious decision to maintain a strict fitness regime and keep her body – and mind - as healthy as possible.
Now a fitness teacher at TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga and local personal trainer, Ms O’Mara has shared her story in a bid to inspire others.
The strong relationship between physical activity and mental health is nothing new, with exercise often cited by medical professionals as helping improve symptoms of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
“Fitness is what got me back on track. It got me through the grief process and empowered me to hold the rest of my family together,” Ms O’Mara said. “It’s such a powerful way to reset your mind. Fitness helps you get through depression and anxiety; it doesn’t turn it off, but it helps you through it.”
Ms O’Mara said building a career in fitness had also helped her spread her message of hope further.
“To be in an environment where people are changing their lives for the better is an amazing workplace,” she said. “Fitness is one of the biggest growth industries in Australia at the moment and it’s such a rewarding career. People are often at a mental or physical breaking point and you’re able to help them through it. You build very close relationships.”
In a report this year, market research analysts IBISWorld predicted Australia’s gym industry would pull in revenues of $2.4 billion by 2022/23, with employment opportunities in the industry also tipped to rise.
Ms O’Mara said TAFE NSW fitness graduates typically worked as personal trainers, or group fitness and gym instructors.
TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga is offering a Certificate III in Fitness for semester two 2019 for the first time ever.
The courses offer the flexibility of online study with four face-to-face workshops each semester.
To enquire about kickstarting a career in the fitness industry, call 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au