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First Female-Only Gym for Muslim Women to Open in the UK

Women will be able to ditch their headscarves, hijabs or burkas for workouts at Haya, the female-only gym.

Haya has all the usual fitness equipment including treadmills, exercise bikes and weights and it will also feature an onsite prayer room.

The businessman behind the idea for the gym in Cardiff, South Wales, believes there’s a gap in the fitness market for Muslim women, who maybe don’t feel like they can comfortably attend their local or high street gym.

Outreach worker Mohammed Alamgir said: ‘It’s a commercial venture for a niche market. It is to encourage this sector of the community to get fit.

‘There will be running machines, step and cardio machines, cross trainers and fitness classes.’

He added: ‘Once they are in this gym there are no men. In this gym they won’t have to have scarves and can wear shorts and T-shirts.

‘This is the first gym dedicated to the needs of the Muslim community and has come about from the demands of the Muslim community.

‘There are restrictions on Muslim women’s ability to get fit. We want to encourage them to be active.’

According to Sport England only 18 per cent of Muslim women take part in sport, compared to 30 per cent of the total female population.

And five years before the figures were as low as 12 per cent – indicating a rise in Muslim women taking up sport and fitness.

In contrast, the figures for Muslim men taking part in sport do not fall below the average for British men as a whole.

Haya Fitness plans on opening later this summer and is currently looking at venues across Cardiff after one possible site fell through.

It will be open to both Muslim and non-Muslim women but no men.


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