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Physical activity keeps the mind alive! Te kori tinana, he mahi e ora ai te hinengaro

I have just finished reading "Healthy Brain, Happy Life" by Dr Wendy Suzuki – a Professor of Neural Science and Psychology in the Centre for Neural Science at New York University. It's a fascinating blend of personal memoir, science narrative and practical takeaways. The book unpacks the powerful connection between exercise, learning, memory, and cognitive abilities and looks at the question: How does exercise really affect the brain? The answer? In really remarkable ways!

In this edition we'll be taking a closer look at the connection between exercise and the brain. Not only does physical activity make your body feel more alive and your brain perform better - according to Dr Suzuki, it can also make you smarter!

Read on to find out how brain hacks, disruptive activities and positive affirmations can enhance your classes, groups and programmes.


View the July/August 2019 Active Canterbury Newsletter online.

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Create a Sense of Belonging

A sense of belonging improves motivation, health, and happiness. If your class participants or group members feel like they’re part of a community, they’ll keep coming back, and they’ll be more likely to recommend your activities to co-workers, family, and friends. A strong sense of community makes your class or group more than just a place people go to be active; it creates a supportive and teamwork-oriented culture.

The American Council of Exercise (ACE) recently asked eight group fitness instructors to share the valuable lessons they’ve learned (some the hard way!) through their years of teaching to groups. Instructor Amanda Vogel, shared some key insights into the area of belonging:

"When I first starting teaching group exercise, I thought participants wanted instructors who could cue perfectly and stay on the musical beat and phrase. As I matured as an instructor, I realised that those skills are only tangentially important to the group exercise experience. Participants join fitness classes for many reasons, but I have found that what keeps them coming back is a feeling of belonging, regardless of their skill level or fitness abilities. One of the most important things an instructor can do is to help every person feel that he or she belongs in the class".

View the May/June 2019 Active Canterbury Newsletter online.

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Intrinsic motivation key to behaviour change

According to motivational interviewing expert Dr Mark Wallace-Bell, the key to changing behaviour is 'igniting intrinsic drive'. Speaking at a recent Active Canterbury Workshop, he provided some practical insights into how we can support people become more active by helping them shift from extrinsic to intrinsic motivators.

Find out about FIVE strategies to add to your toolkit that can help the people you work with build a lifelong activity habit.


View the March/April 2019 Active Canterbury Newsletter online.

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New Directory Taking Shape!

The new Activities Directory launched in November 2018 is shaping up, with many activity providers taking advantage of the opportunity to list and promote their classes, groups and programmes for free. The aim of the Directory is to create a 'one stop information hub' where it is quick and easy for people to search for, and connect with, activity providers across Canterbury. The listings are searchable by activity type and locality, making it easy for people to find providers in their local area.

Check out the FAQ section on the Sport Canterbury website for more information.

Haven't listed your activities yet? It's not too late!
Add my details to the Activities Directory.


View the February 2019 Active Canterbury Newsletter online.

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New Activities Directory launched

Active Canterbury and Sport Canterbury have teamed up to launch a new Activities Directory.

The directory has been added to the Greater Christchurch Sport & Recreation Guide and captures information about local classes, groups and programmes. The listings are searchable by activity type and locality, making it easy for people to connect with providers in their area.

An email invitation to join the directory was recently sent out to a large number of activity providers who have previously connected with Active Canterbury and Sport Canterbury. Activity providers who did not receive this email are also encouraged to join!

Add my details to the Activities Directory.

Check out the FAQ section on the Sport Canterbury website for more information.


View the November/December 2018 Active Canterbury Newsletter online.

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Is physical activity the cure for sitting disease?

Since writing about this topic last year, a lot more research has been undertaken. Latest findings suggest that we need to think of sitting as an important part of the wider problem of physical inactivity - rather than being the “new smoking”.

Here's a summary of what the research is currently telling us:

  • If long periods of sitting can't be avoided, then it's crucial to be physically active.
  • Physical activity is important - no matter how many hours a day are spent sitting.
  • You'd have to cut back your sitting by many hours a day to achieve the same reduced risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease from doing even one or two exercise sessions a week.
  • Doing at least one hour a day of physical activity a day is enough to completely offset the increased risk of death from prolonged sitting
  • The first priority is to reinforce the most evidence-based message: move as often as possible, huff and puff sometimes.

View the September/October 2018 Active Canterbury Newsletter online.

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