Woodside Fitness Success Story

By Kendrea Rhodes

An idea that started in 2006 with a community yearning for all-inclusive exercise classes close to home, has blossomed into a successful, not-for-profit fitness program under the management of the Adelaide Hills Swimming Centre Inc.

The initial focus of the Active Fitness and Lifestyle Group was to provide affordable, local, non-competitive exercise classes for women. And from these humble beginnings at Woodside’s swimming pool nearly 15 years ago, the Fitness Group has really grown. They have roughly 300 members (men and women) and employ eight instructors who provide 25 fitness classes per week, including aqua fitness in summer.

The Active Fitness and Lifestyle Group’s Men’s Fitness classes 1 & 2 (foreground) with instructors, Angie and Jodie (right). In the background is the Aqua Zumba women’s class with instructor, Denise. 

For ten years Jodie Mlikota has managed the program as well as instructing Body Bar, Pilates, and filling in for other classes where necessary. Jodie aims to promote all the benefits of being active—not just the obvious physical advantages, but the social and mental-health benefits too. This idea of holistic wellbeing is embodied in a quote dotted around the Group’s facilities and Jodie’s home: You are only one workout away from a good mood.

“We all have struggles in our lives, things we have to cope with, and moving helps,” Jodie says.

Three years ago, Jodie had major surgery and says fitness really aided her recovery.

“Fitness made me stronger, both physically and mentally,” she said.

And it’s not just being super-fit, as you might expect a fitness instructor to be, there are stories of group members who have surprised medical professionals with their physical recovery. They put it down to being active, socialising within their community, having a support network, and a routine.

Jenny has been a member of the Group for over eight years. She attends aqua, cardio and strength, Zumba, Pilates, and yoga.

“Zumba is amazing. It’s really fun. Don’t be put off—anyone can learn, even me!” she said.

The social connections extend throughout many of Jenny’s classes, who often go to breakfast or coffee together, before or after class.

“We are so lucky to have this local group,” she said.

Jenny recently broke her arm and being in her early 70s, this may have proven hard going. But due to her flexibility and core strength (attributed to the Active Fitness classes) she was able to get in and out of chairs and her bed, while maintaining her balance and strength.

Two years ago, Jenny coerced her husband, Dave, into attending the men’s classes on Monday nights.

Dave said, “I thought to myself, I am never going to survive this. But I did.”

Dave used to work away and didn’t know many people, so the Active Fitness Group came as a pleasant surprise. He found like-minded local men enjoying fitness and  having a laugh. The spin-offs from this are a weekly walking group and a monthly counter-dinner at the local pub.

There is something for everyone—seriously, this is a slogan with substance, checkout some of the choices: 6am Bootcamp, gentle walking group, X-Trainer, gentle fitness, yoga (Hatha, Dru), Pilates (chair and floor), Body Bar, aqua fitness, ball fitness, strength and cardio, Zumba and aqua-Zumba, and year-round men’s fitness classes on Mondays at the Swimming Centre, with more men’s classes coming in the future.

Classes are either at the Swimming Centre in Woodside or the Woodside Uniting Church Hall, Nairne Road. Prices are affordable: casual purchases vary between $14–$18 per class, or alternatively, you can purchase an annual membership for $20 enabling even more cost savings per class. Please visit the website for specific pricing including concessions, timetables and covid-safe guidelines: about-fitness/. You can also contact Jodie Mlikota on 0413 593 316 or email

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