Blog: The Fitness Zone

You're never too old or too fat to uncover the competitor within. The Nelson Mail's Peter Gibbs helps readers to overcome their fears and discover the pleasures and benefits of being fit.

An authentic tribute to a gut-busting Giro

05:00am 18 Jul 2014


Thank goodness it's been good television-watching weather. Even without paying exorbitant bills to Sky, there's been plenty to watch, with the game that many of us still call soccer, friends copying DVDs of Tour de France stages, and online coverage of triathlons.

The riches continue, with a couple more weeks of the tour and the Commonwealth Games starting next week.

Exercise hasn't occupied centre stage, but I'm still managing a few days of swimming each week.

If you're thinking about the MS Ford Blue September Father's Day 5km charity run/walk, you have only seven weeks to go.

Although most people will be able to jog or walk the distance without much preparation, you'll enjoy it more if you're fitter.

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From couch-bound zero to 5k hero

05:00am 11 Jul 2014


It's not easy to get out and exercise during the winter, but help is at hand.

A new event in nine weeks' time offers achievable salvation for couch potatoes and also gives the chance to do your bit for charity.

The MS Ford Blue September Father's Day 5km Fun Run/Walk is a fundraiser in support of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.

Pretty well anyone can handle 5km, especially if you can walk all or part of it, so this is a chance to do yourself some good, have a good time and help out a good cause.

The event starts on the banks of the Maitai River, on the new walkway across the river from Trafalgar Park.

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Knocking off Ironman Austria

05:00am 04 Jul 2014


Joanne Hillis admits she's a social triathlete. Before she moved from England to Ruby Bay two years ago, she'd travelled with friends to various half ironman events and had completed her first full ironman in Florida just before she came here.

When she moved to Nelson, she found a great group of new friends to train with, including Debbi Bamfield, who also lives in Ruby Bay.

When Joanne, 43, decided to go back to Europe to join her friends there in last weekend's Ironman Austria, she asked Debbi, 52, if she'd like to go, too.

Debbi's from the United States but has lived in New Zealand for a while. She hasn't a large triathlon background. She did a few marathons 25 years ago, then had a spell as a competitive cyclist, doing races of up to 160 kilometres.

A few years ago she found the Port Nelson Sea Swims.

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Nothing like a short, sharp shock

05:00am 27 Jun 2014


Over the past few decades, keeping fit has become an accepted part of our lifestyle in a way that didn't happen up until the 1970s or 1980s.

At first it was jogging and the marathon craze. Road cycling came on strong and so did mountainbiking.

Ocean swimming is pretty big lately, although it's taking a seasonal break.

Triathlon took my fancy, although its arrival in the mid to late 80s was a bit late for my prime.

So many ways to get fit and a lot of our choices come down to motivation.

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Runner reaps the rewards

05:00am 20 Jun 2014


My first few years of running were like an infatuation. I couldn't get enough of it - I'd be at every harrier club run in the winter and every pub run in the summer.

Training was no chore - I looked forward to it. When I wasn't running I'd take every opportunity to read about it.

That wasn't easy, in the mid-80s there didn't seem to be many books about running.

In those days, one bought running gear at Taylor's Footwear in Richmond, or Athletic Attic in Hardy St. The Nelson shop was then owned by Robbie and Margaret Johnston, who soon changed its name to Athleisure as they broke away from the franchise.

In that shop, I found a book which was to become my bible. The New Zealand Road to Fitness, written by Hawke's Bay physiotherapist John Wheeler and published in 1984, was an inspirational book that talked enthusiastically about the joys of running, then in later chapters went into some detail about injuries and how to deal with them.

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