Christchurch – The government and its agencies have been called on by Exercise NZ to work collaboratively with the exercise community to support Kiwis getting into exercise which effectively reduces the burgeoning health bill.

Exercise NZ chief executive Richard Beddie says exercise help people get fitter, stay healthier.

“It’s also good for the taxpayer since we all pay for the health costs related to inactivity and it’s good for families. Those who keep fit will live longer and have more positive experiences if they are regularly active. And yes, this is all proven,” Beddie says.

“There is now overwhelming evidence that exercise is good for people’s long-term health and understanding of the breadth and impact of the benefits continues to grow.

“From its preventives effects against many diseases, through to the ‘miracle’ anti-aging affects, as well as mental health’, stress management and long term cognitive benefits for the brain, exercise is surely the magic pill for many of us living in the 21st century.

“What is perhaps surprising is how quickly such effects can take place. Even one bout of exercise can have significant positive effects on mental health and even simple aerobic activity which gets the heart rate up has increases in the learning cortex of the brain within 20 minutes.

“The key with any information however is action. The government should help out by supporting the exercise community to get more Kiwis fitter.

“A recent research report in the United States found only 20 percent of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week. More than half of all baby boomers report doing no exercise whatsoever and 80.2 million Americans over the age of six are entirely inactive.

“I’d like to think Kiwis are much more active but we can do so much better than what many of us do now.”

If exercise was considered a sport, it would be the biggest sport in New Zealand, by more than 50 percent, Beddie says. There are more than half a million Kiwis who take part in exercise in gyms and fitness centres while New Zealanders’ involvement in club and organised sports is declining.

For further information contact Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Photo: Richard Beddie