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Exercise top sport in NZ, but too many Kiwis overweight - expert

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Kiwis must become more physically active in 2020 because losing weight and getting fit are still one of the top new year’s resolutions people aim for, Exercise New Zealand Richard Beddie says.

While January is traditional a time for people to decide to start into new activities to feel better, it’s often not till late January or early February that exercise facilities see a spike in membership inquires, Beddie says.

"There are now many more choices as to the type, location and price of exercise options. In fact the number of exercise facilities has grown 300 percent in the last 10 years so regardless of fitness levels or exercise preferences there is an exercise fit for every preference.

"If people looking at increasing physical activity levels, they should find something they like. Some people prefer working out with others or friends in a class or group activity while other people prefer exercising by themselves.

"I can’t stress enough that people should get expert help. Most gyms and studios will offer personalised specialist support from trainers as part of a membership offering of some sort.

"They can also help with setting goals and helping succeed at reaching them. We recommend using a trainer that’s registered with the NZ Register of Exercise Professionals. Starting with attendance as a measure is important and the other results will flow from there.

"Exercise is now 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."

Despite that, an 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 WHO guidelines.

Beddie says New Zealand needs to wake up to the fact that 90 percent of Kiwi children do not meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) activity deadlines. It is parents and whanau who make the choices for children so perhaps new year's resolutions could be not just for parents to get active, but for their kids as well.

Beddie was part of an international group the WHO invited to Geneva last year to get the issue of inactivity addressed.

"I feel while the WHO are taking action, not enough action is being taken at a national level here," he says.

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