Active Canterbury newsletters are available as Adobe Acrobat PDF downloadable files.
Sign up to receive the Active Canterbury Newsletter
NZ men live on average four years less than women according to Ministry of Health data, with Maori and Pacific men having even shorter expected life spans. This is despite men having comparable self-reported ratings of good to excellent health.
Obesity is a significant problem. Thirty percent of NZ men are obese and a further 39 percent overweight. Researcher Dr Fiona Doolan-Noble says, "New Zealand men are getting fatter, faster than men elsewhere". Chronic health conditions including heart disease, lung cancer and diabetes are major causes of death. Reasons for this are multifactorial, but include unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and smoking.
The good news is that research has shown that men are concerned about their weight and health - despite common stereotypes to the contrary (Maddison et al. 2019). Engagement is the challenging part. What are the reasons for lack of participation, and what can activity providers and exercise professionals do to make their classes, groups and programmes more "men-friendly"?
"Walking is the closest thing to a magic bullet for health" – Graham Colditz MD, Washington University School of Medicine.
The many benefits associated with walking are often quite understated. On closer inspection, they really are quite remarkable! How can something we often think very little about make such a big difference to way we feel, our health, and our communities?
This edition we'll be checking out these benefits in more detail. We'll also take a look at upcoming events, Nordic walking and free walking resources.
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.
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".
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.
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.
Haven't listed your activities yet? It's not too late!
Add my details to the Activities Directory.