Wellington Scoop

Getting moving for the new year

Press Release – Make Lemonade
Many New Zealanders are suffering chronic stress because of the impact of the covid pandemic, a leading New Zealander exercise expert says.

Covid and all that comes with it is still very much around and slowly wears people down, creating health issues as well as short tempers, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

“My message for 2021 is for people to consider wellbeing, mental health care and resilience.

“Activity really helps. Joining a gym continues to be one of the top three new year’s resolutions. Specific objectives such as losing weight are lowering, while being active and feeling better are climbing which are great signs for the future.”

ExerciseNZ has surveyed its key industry leaders asking them what they believe Kiwis should do to be more physically active this year. Here are some of their answers:

Jase Te Patu, ExerciseNZ award winner from Wellington: “2020 has had effects on mental and emotional wellbeing, so maybe hard slog at the gym or crossfit is not needed. Maybe activities such as swimming or a team sport where camaraderie will benefit after being isolated in lockdown or working from home in 2020. Maybe Kiwis could consider complementary activities such as gym and yoga for recovery?”

Mid Thomas, ExerciseNZ board chair from Wellington: “An essential part of starting any physical activity is regularity and getting the right intensity. If people push too hard too soon, they are less likely to create a sustainable habit. Research has shown that creating a habit first is more important than intensity.”

Rebecca Harford, yoga teacher, national exercise award winner and owner and pilates trainer, Christchurch: “Just get started! Small and steady wins the race. There is a massive benefit to seeking support to a group or individual that can help stay accountable – especially if people have barriers such as time, injury or any health concern.”

Kate Saynor, an Olympic and Commonwealth Games weightlifter and fitness facility owner trainer from North Shore, Auckland: “Once people have a clearance to get moving, they could focus on building the habit first and being consistent. Our goal is to build physical activity into Kiwis’ daily life. They should not worry too much at this stage about what they or for how long they do it. They should just aim to move regularly and consistently.”

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  1. KL, 5. January 2021, 13:30

    Interesting that not one of the quotes included walking. It’s a lot cheaper than joining a gym and easier on our ears.

  2. greenwelly, 5. January 2021, 16:13

    @KL, It’s a press release from “Make Lemonade” who are a professional “news media service” – read PR company – and in this case the client is Exercise NZ (who are a representation organisation that includes the Gym industry). So expecting it to extoll the virtues of Walking is probably a bit much.

  3. TrevorH, 5. January 2021, 16:47

    @ KL, I agree. Walking is underrated. In these COVID conscious times golf is experiencing a big resurgence too. Green spaces, fresh air, socially distanced competition. And walking.

  4. Claire, 5. January 2021, 20:02

    Walking up and down and all over Mt Victoria during lockdown was a real treat. We are lucky with that large green space. Actually walking is my main form of exercise, at various speeds. And I walk most places around Newtown and into town.

  5. Toni, 6. January 2021, 13:27

    Walking through the central city during lockdown especially with a child in a buggy was so depressing as, apart Midland Park and Jack Ilott Green, there is no reasonable green open space. Street after street, some with a few trees and scrubby bushes, and acres of of dismal grey concrete everywhere else.
    Yes we may have the town belt, but it is no use to those living in the central city who need close flat accessible green space to sit and enjoy, play with children etc, and lockdown just emphasised how very little there is in the CBD. I can’t imagine how bad it is going to be once the inner city population doubles.

  6. Groggy, 6. January 2021, 14:39

    @ Toni, Frank Kitts Park, Parliament grounds, Glover Park, Aro St Park, Central Park, Kelburn Park, Anderson Park, the botanic garden and Bolton St cemetery, there is quite a bit of open green space within a short walking distance.

  7. greenwelly, 6. January 2021, 16:21

    @Toni, Midland Park is only 400 metres from the large grassy space in front of parliament building’s – which now has a “playground.”

    Jack Ilott Green is 200 metres from Frank Kitts Park and 600 metres from Waitangi Park.

  8. Toni, 6. January 2021, 17:32

    @ Groggy: The bulk of green spaces (ie Central Park, Kelburn Park, Anderson Park, the botanic garden and Bolton St cemetery) are not accessible from the inner-city where people in wheelchairs, mothers with young children in buggies or on little scooters etc can easily get to and play.
    As the inner-city (Lambton and Te Aro area) is now the biggest residential suburb in Wellington in terms of population, it is fairly clear the city falls well short of the WHO recommendations that urban residents should be able to access public green spaces of at least 0.5–1 hectare within 300 metres’ linear distance of their homes. In fact a report commissioned by the WCC noted that there is “a very significant lack of greenspace within 300m of the population-weighted centre of Willis St– Cambridge Terrace” and that “Increasing the total amount, accessibility and quality of green space in the central city will need to be achieved in order to accommodate future population growth and fulfil a vision of central city green spaces that enhance community and ecosystem health”.

  9. Groggy, 7. January 2021, 13:37

    @ Toni, I actually selected just the parks that are easily accessible, particularly for wheelchairs, scooters or buggies from the CBD. Probably not Kelburn Park but the others are all within a 10 minute walk (even at toddler pace) of the CBD with level (ie no steps) access routes.

    I don’t believe many, if any at all, capital cities would meet that WHO guideline of sufficient green space within 300 meters of every home. None of the ones I have had experience of were even close and truly do have miles of concrete with nary a green thing in sight.


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