Local mum fights crippling disease with fitness

Zumba is an effective way to stay fit and keep you moving, particularly as you age.

WHEN Michelle Fisher was just a toddler, doctors diagnosed her with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

The crippling and chronic autoimmune disease was likely to put her into a wheelchair before adulthood.

But Michelle was determined to fight it by keeping mobile.

She became a fitness instructor at the age of 16 and has remained active despite having had more than 20 operations including both feet reconstructions, both knee replacements, and a total right hip replacement.

Now, in her 40s, she owns and runs ZFit Dance in Hervey Bay as a means of promoting health and fitness through Zumba. Classes are just $5 and are held at the Memorial Hall in Main St, Pialba, at 6pm on Mondays and Fridays, and 4.30pm on Wednesdays.

Michelle is a highly qualified fitness instructor, having studied everything from sports management to weight loss, and has taught and trained instructors and coaches within the sport and fitness industry.

She also works full-time as a teacher at Urangan High School where she runs lunch-time Zumba classes for the students.

"I have decided to continue inspiring people to stay fit, healthy and active, through exercise and fitness, by teaching Zumba," Michelle said.

"I use my disability to inspire people of all ages and abilities to have a go.

"It is my personal goal to help participants feel better, achieve their personal fitness goals, and to have fun along the way.

"We have participants in the classes aged from 9 to 90."

But it's also about helping the community.

In 2018 ZFit hosted two fundraiser events - one for Arthritis Queensland, to raise funds and awareness, and one for Drought Angels.

"We managed to raise a substantial amount of money between the two events and more importantly, we are raising awareness of healthy living through activity - such as Zumba," Michelle said.

"It is not only a great way to stay active and healthy, but it also helps you to de-stress and unwind, whether it be from work, financial issues, family or other daily pressures of life.

"Just one class a week can be all that it takes to leave you feeling refreshed and motivated.

"Make your next step towards fitness, a Zumba class with me."

Michelle is joined by ZFit instructor Summer Bessell and new trainee instructor Emily Harvey.

Summer is a dancer who loves teaching Zumba and is also qualified in Zumba Kids and Kids JR.

"I have enjoyed attending regular Zumba classes here in Hervey Bay, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and have attended a number of Zumba Masterclass events," Summer said.

"I share ZFit's mission statement of 'promoting health and fitness through Zumba'.

"Feel the difference. We hope that each and every person feels happier and healthier while doing Zumba."

ZFit attends local events including the Childers Festival, Paddle out for Whales, the Recre8 Program and Relay for Life.

Please go to https://www.droughtangels.org.au for more information and to donate directly.

Further information is available at zfitdance.com.au and facebook.com/zfitdance.com.au.