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Dan Gebski interviews Dominika Wojciechowska

 Someone smart said Your health is your wealth. My next Hero is 100% of example of this quote.

She works hard and she knows her value and status. Please let me introduce person of Dominika Wojciechowska

DG: Dominika Would you call Newry City your home?

DZ: Yes, definitely Dan. Someone said “Home is where the heart is “ and my heart is in Newry so that's my and my family home.

Dan Gebski with Dominika Wojciechowska
Dan Gebski with Dominika Wojciechowska

 

DG:How long have you been in Ireland and Newry? Do you and your family like living here?

DZ: I came to Ireland in 2004 so it will be 16 years in October. I live in Newry with my husband and 2 children. We all like Newry, we have great neighbours and Irish friends. I was very fortunate to meet great people, Irish people are the friendliest I've ever met.

DG:I know your passion is sport. Why sport and what exactly is your field?

DZ: I was a very active child so my parents sent me to gymnastics school and that how its start. I was part of Polish National team and done gymnastics and acrobatic sports for 16 years. I love sport,sport was and is my passion. After A levels I made a decision to study at Academy of Physical Education.

At the same time, fitness began to be very popular in Poland, so I decided to go this route and I still continue and love my work, my work is my passion

DG: Could you tell me little bit about your childhood and family please?

DZ: I'm coming from city called Zabrze which is best know from the one of the most successful Polish football clubs in history “Gornik Zabrze”. I always laugh that if I were a boy I would definitely be a footballer. I have 2 younger sisters which were both were very much into sport. My youngest sister was a member of Polish national team in Olympic handball. All my family are active and like sport. We have normal childhood. My parents own a fruit and vegetable shop and worked very hard to provide us with the best possible life. Especially when we where young and Poland was still under the communist regime.

My parents were always very supportive and they still are, but our education was the priority for them. So education was first then sport.

DG: Do you think exercise helps improve mental health? Do you think mental health is something which people struggle with in Newry?

DZ: I work at the gym in Newry Leisure centre since 2004 and and I have  noticed that more and more people struggle with mental health issues. I see significant increase of depression in teenagers, young adults and older generation. That's why we should promote exercises, as they can do wonders for our mental health and self-esteem. Aerobic exercises, Pilates, Yoga, jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, have been proved to reduce anxiety and depression. One of the people I know who suffers from depression said to me – “Gym is my rehab place, exercises are my medication ,I need to sweat the badness away..”

We should also remember how stress has a negative impact on our health. But through exercises, we promote stress reduction and improve mental clarity.

DG: Can you tell me how come you started work for Council and was it easy journey to get where you are now?

DZ: My plan was to stay in Newry for 2 months but one of my friends told me that Newry Sports Centre were looking for a gym, fitness instructor. I went for interview with 2 managers Paul and Derrick and they offered me a job. First couple of months I was working for agency and then directly for the council. I could say I was very lucky. It was a time when there were not many gym instructors in Newry. I have joined Newry Sports Centre team and with great support from my frien Jim , Paul, Susan and Derrick we created fantastic class programmes that we still run until this day.

DG:What are your are past projects which you are very proud of?

DZ: The programme which I'm most proud of is called Over 50's and it's shortlisted in this year Irish Fitness Industry Awards 2020 for Best Fitness Programme. I'm doing that programme with my work colleague John. We run classes 3 times a week attracting around 50 plus participants in each session, aged from 50 to early 80's, both genders. ....

It wasn't easy from the start. In 2006 when I started I heard from people - Dominika middle age people and the gym, it's not gonna work... and I was telling them back - “Age is just a number and you will be old and Over 50 one day too” and we proved them wrong. Classes are full, on Wednesday we sometimes have 80 people and it's great to see it. People of a similar age meet together, having lunch after the class. That's make them feel less lonely.

I also have to mention The Arc. Its a project which provide daytime opportunities for adults with a learning disability. I am responsible for fitness training for group of girls who have made phenomenal progress and I'm very proud of them. 

DG: I heard you were nominated to prestige award of Irish Fitness Industry in pilates? Can you say more about it please?

DZ: Yes, my clients nominated me for that award  and I'm over the moon. It's a Irish Fitness Industry Award and awards are voted by public so I can't be happier because it proves that my clients like my classes. They see my passion for what I do.

DG: Could you finish this sentence please? I love exercising a lot but I would drop exercising for…..?

DZ: Definitely for my family. My family it's my everything. I am lucky to having great and supportive husband and 2 great kids.

DG:What are your future projects? And do you think we Polish should participate more in our communities?

I will still continue do Pilates classes in Whitegates Community Centre and NLC . I will probably go for a couple of fitness training convention to stay up to date with current trends. In May and June with Robert from Sure Start we organise some activities  for Mens Health Week and I'll love to see more Polish and other nationalities dads, men participate in the programme.

All nationalities should participate in our communities. I live in the Meadow and I feel as part of that communities. As I said before I have fantastic neighbours,they gave as very warm welcome when we move there. I always received great support from Brendan Cranny from Whitegates Community Centre. We need to try to be more active, talk to people. I understand that language could be a barrier but we need to keep trying.

Thank you for this brilliant interview and wish you a very successful year 2020.DAN.

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