Kiwis leaping into exercise in 2021

ExerciseNZ media release: 6th January 2021

​ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says people wanting to exercise again after the long holiday break should start gently with less intensity.

This approach keeps activity manageable in terms of time available and allows people to build up strength and fitness gradually, he says.

“Initially, we just want to get people moving more often and more regularly. Kiwis can add more structure to workouts as they build up their regimes to 20 or 30 minutes.

“If someone hasn’t exercised for a while , then really helps to enlist the help of a trainer, without being complicated. People can start building up their cardiovascular fitness with activities such as walking, cycling and swimming.

“Then moderate intensity later, at a comfortable place for most people to start with. An exercise professional can really help ensure continued progress, reduce the risk of injury and add variety to sessions. Getting a friend or family member is really great.”

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

Mid Thomas - ExerciseNZ board chair from Wellington: “A support person can encourage the right behaviours around consistency. Doing an activity with someone while they are still in an insecure phase is critical to helping the person feel comfortable with whatever exercise they choose. “People should celebrate small milestones with the family or friend support person and reward the success of consistency. Results will come over time but are not something people will see initially.“
Kate Saynor - an Olympic and Commonwealth Games weightlifter, personal trainer of the year in 2020 and fitness facility owner trainer from North Shore Auckland: “At some point, a friend or family member may be ready to take action. They may buy a new pair of trainers, start doing a few walks, join a gym or class, or even hire a personal trainer - they’ve started. Help them keep on track by checking in on them and offer plenty of support.”

Kiwis are far from as fit as most think. Obesity epidemic is gripping New Zealand which also has a physical inactivity crisis, being the 13th worst in the world – and the worst for children with only 10 percent meeting World Health Organisation guidelines.

Exercise is the #1 sport in New Zealand with more than half a million participants and growing research confirming the health benefits of activity for all Kiwis.