Sunday, December 17, 2017

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Sisters Exercising Together meets  from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Peterson Gym 241 through Dec. 6. (Photo: David Kahan) Sisters Exercising Together meets from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Peterson Gym 241 through Dec. 6. (Photo: David Kahan)
 


New Class Empowers Muslim Women

A kinesiology professor launched a student exercise program for Muslim women called Sisters Exercising Together.
By Jayla Lee
 

During his research of physical activity among San Diego’s Muslim community, San Diego State University kinesiology professor David Kahan saw a need to remove barriers for female Muslim college students at SDSU. He found most Muslim women preferred exercising in single-sex settings with female instructors, but did not have a place to do so at SDSU – until now.

Kahan created an exercise program just for Muslim women, Sisters Exercising Together (SET). This program provides a safe space for Muslim women to exercise, have fun, and connect with other Muslim women.

“The class gives the women the opportunity to redefine their health and wellness choices,” said Kahan.

Among those women is third-year biology student Mina Alabdali, who says the class leaves her feeling good and energetic.

“My favorite part about this program is having some quite amazing trainers, and especially working out with girls I feel comfortable with in a private space,” Alabdali said.

Classes are taught by Exercise and Nutritional Sciences alumnus Christy Merriken and third-year kinesiology student Noora Cholagh, who says she wants to help women be the best they can be.

"It gives girls an opportunity to get to know one another, work out, and feel great afterwards,” Cholagh said. “It’s not just a regular class; it’s exercising and feeling great.”

Cholagh teaches self-defense in both Arabic and English. She is a third-degree black belt in karate and a second-degree black belt in taekwondo.

SET includes five to six students per session. Kahan hopes these numbers will grow next semester as he looks to offer classes to better fit students’ schedules.

Students, alumnae, and community members interested in joining should provide input regarding scheduling and program content in this survey.

Classes meet twice a week from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Peterson Gym 241 through Dec. 6. Classes are free and drop-in for the fall 2016 semester. All female Muslim students, alumnae, and members of the community are welcome to attend.