150 minutes. That’s how much time we should be exercising a week to maintain a healthy lifestyle, according to the Ministry of Health. It can seem a bit overwhelming, until you realise that’s about 20 minutes a day.
Getting your ‘20 minutes a day’ doesn’t have to be training for a marathon. It can be as simple as a brisk walk to meet the bus or cycling in the park on a Sunday family outing.
The AIA Fittest City report shows that as well as healthy city environments there are other things we can do to help us get moving. Programmes such as AIA Vitality, for example, which rewards and encourages users to make small changes that will improve their health over time can be part of the solution.
New Zealand is doing its part, with exciting initiatives such as Auckland’s Urban Cycleways Programme and the planned SkyPath crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Christchurch has several programmes underway as part of its goal to be considered one of the top five cycle cities in the world by 2020. Meanwhile Dunedin has been crowned the Electric Vehicle capital of the country, which is helping to reduce CO2 emissions and provide a healthier city environment.
It is Wellington, however, which is the stand-out, according to researchers from the University of Otago and University of Auckland who looked at the different levels of walking, cycling and public transport use in our six largest cities. Wellington scored the highest in terms of the most sustainable transport system, the highest rate of active transport use in New Zealand, and the most walking trips.
Good health matters. Lifestyle factors, including insufficient exercise, raise the likelihood of contracting one of four major diseases – cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – that account for 90% of premature deaths in New Zealand.
If all of us could get in the daily exercise we require to keep ourselves healthy, we could all live healthier, longer, better lives. And the answer? It’s simple. Let’s get moving New Zealand.
To read AIA Vitality’s Fittest City report, please click here.