Finding How to Fit

Jenny Footle


Finding How To Fit hero

Positive Impacts of Fitness and Wellness Programming for Survivors of Human Trafficking

While walking alongside survivors of trafficking, it is imperative that we offer holistic health services. We are becoming increasingly aware of the nature of trauma and how it is stored in the body. Through physical fitness, we can help survivors to release stress and trauma from their bodies. Exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety and calm the body and brain. Along with a trauma-informed instructor, exercise can be a beneficial aspect of the healing process.

What types of exercise are best for survivors?

One of the best types of exercise for survivors is walking/running, which provides bilateral stimulation. This is similar to EMDR therapy. Another is yoga, which allows the survivor to be fully present. Some other forms of exercise that can be helpful are Zumba Gold, kickboxing, swimming, and aqua aerobics. These types of exercise can allow survivors to boost their health and their self-image without too much pressure to perform.

Instructors may need special skills to offer trauma-informed training

A quality trauma-informed instructor must be supportive and use positive language. They need to also be authentic and relatable so that the survivor can feel comfortable while training with them. Flexibility is also important. Exercise can bring up triggering memories and the instructor must be aware of that and help the survivor to work through any issues that may arise. It is also necessary for instructors to perform self-care activities and take breaks when needed.

Fitness is a healthy behavior that can help to facilitate a survivor’s healing. There are many exercises that are appropriate for survivors. With a good instructor, it can become a habit that will positively affect their lives. Through healthy habits and exercise, survivors can make the switch from surviving to thriving.


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