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Christchurch – Many Kiwis 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 complimentary 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.”

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