New Zealand one of laziest nations
Half of us don't do enough physical activityMICHELLE DUFF
Do you exercise enough (three to five times a week)?
One climbs icy peaks while the other scoffs iced chocolate cake - but who is the average New Zealander?
Meet Jeff McEwan, 34, and Steve Wrigley, 33. Their lifestyles couldn't be more different, but they both lay claim to being as happy as a kid in a candy shop. Or maybe, in Mr McEwan's case, as happy as a kid with a new bike.
Research published in medical journal The Lancet yesterday has put New Zealand among the laziest countries in the world, with about 50 per cent of us not doing enough physical activity.
New Zealand came in 27th on a list of 122 countries - with Malta the most lazy and Bangladesh the least lazy.
The study defined inactivity as not doing five 30-minute sessions of moderate activity a week, or three 20-minute sessions of vigorous activity.
It showed Kiwi women were more inactive than men, with 50.4 and 45 per cent respectively not doing enough exercise.
But Wrigley, a Wellington comedian who is among the 50 per cent who aren't pulling their weight, doesn't see it as a problem.
"I think it's pointless, we don't need to exercise any more. We used to need to be physically fit because we had to catch food and stuff, but now we've got supermarkets."
He had a gym membership that he barely used, because he disliked fending his way past gym bunnies in their fancy ensembles.
"I'd run if there was an objective, if it was like, ‘Quick, let's get away from that explosive volcano,' or there was a 100-metre run with an icecream sundae at the end. But it's just pointless running around in circles in your local area, there's just no reason."
In comparison, Mr McEwan, a photographer, ran, cycled and kayaked 243 kilometres every week last year to prepare for the Coast to Coast multisport race.
He's now in his downtime before the next race, running and cycling up to three hours, four times a week.
He wanted to do the race after photographing it for years, and is now hooked on fitness.
"I felt awesome, absolutely amazing. Once you get to that fitness stage you are feeling fantastic - you can take on things a lot easier, you don't feel sluggish and you're probably eating a bit better as well.
"I stopped drinking as well, which wasn't hard because you don't feel like it, you feel like you want to look after your body.
"Exercise is like a shot of energy . . . It just picks you up."
Victoria University senior lecturer in health and physical education Barrie Gordon said the Government could be doing more to encourage physical activity.
Millions of dollars spent on sending top athletes to the Olympics could be better spent in communities, making it easier for the average person to get active and healthy, he said.
GET UP, GET MOVING
Take a brisk walk to the park or a cafe for lunch instead of eating at your desk.
Cross the room to talk to your colleague instead of sending an email.
Nice day? Walk or cycle to work.
Take the stairs instead of the lift.
If you must drive, park as far from the front door as possible.
Get rid of satellite TV - with less to watch, you'll get off the couch.
Clean your house vigorously.
Mow those lawns you've been avoiding.
Make time for a walk with your partner after dinner - good couple time and exercise.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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