Move it or lose it – Push Play for 30 minutes a day

  • Annette King

Health Minister Annette King believes finding creative ways to help people be more physically active and to eat better is one of the keys to curbing the growing rate of obesity in New Zealand.

Poor diet and inactive lifestyle generally double the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and substantially increases the risk of many other diseases and conditions, including depression.

More than 2 million people die worldwide each year from inactivity, and our increasingly sedentary lifestyle is estimated to account for 8 percent of all deaths in New Zealand.

Ms King, who took part in the Push Play Community Health Day in Porirua today, said initiatives like Push Play – which advocates 30 minutes exercise a day for good health – were vital to get the message across that even the smallest amount of physical activity is beneficial to mental and physical wellbeing.

Push Play Community Health Day this year focussed on New Zealanders aged over 50, and involved medical students providing free health and fitness assessments. “We need to find more of these innovative ways of helping New Zealanders to be more physically active and to eat better.”

Ms King said a proliferation of labour-saving devices and inactive entertainment meant many of the ways we maintained physical activity no longer existed and more creative ways of keeping active needed to be found.

“The main message about physical activity is how easy it can be. You don’t even have to do much of it if you don’t want to. Scientific evidence shows that we only have to engage in moderate amounts of physical activity for 30 minutes a day on most days to benefit our hearts and minds. So we can go for a walk, do some line-dancing, indoor bowls or take up tai chi.

“Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing more if you’re keen, as vigorous activity increases physical fitness and consequently improves health further.

“What is also important is being active regularly. Ideally that means daily rather than just on the weekend. We can even benefit from doing our daily activity in smaller blocks of 10 minutes at a time.”

For more information, contact Dionne Barton (04) 470 6851.