Good habits embedded by Green Prescription

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Ashburton man Roger Martin credits a Green Prescription following a knee replacement a couple of years ago for his new lease on life.

He has shed about 15kg, plays walking netball, badminton and pickleball and is keenly interested in fueling his body with good, nutritious food. The team sport is on pause during the Covid-19 lockdown, but he has upped his walking game to daily trips up to an hour long.

The Green Prescription was arranged by his doctor and that is where he met Sport Canterbury physical health advisor Aimee Cosgrove.

Aimee said Roger had become one of her star pupils and was a great advocate of the Green Prescription programme.

She introduces about 10 people a week to the programme, some are referred by their doctor, some are self-referred.

All are hoping regular exercise will help them become fitter, lose weight, recover from injuries and operations and generally improve their bodies and minds.

Aimee’s job is to keep them on course. She conducts an initial consultation then rings them regularly to see how they are progressing and working towards their goals; some are on her books for five months while she embeds the green prescription philosophies.

She said her clients ranged in age, ability and health. Some had anxiety, osteoarthritis or were recovering from a heart attack; others were learning to use exercise to beat depression.

Many were missing the hydrotherapy pool at the EA Networks Centre, which was closed along with other Ashburton District Council facilities during the lockdown.

She said many other people would benefit from a green prescription and she encouraged them to fill in a self-referral form on Sport Canterbury’s website.

During lockdown, her catch-up calls are as much about welfare as they are about mental and physical health.

Aimee said some needed encouragement to walk to their letterbox, while others had tried tai chi online or walked around their local block more times than usual. Lockdown was a good time to be making new habits.

Sport Canterbury has also launched a 28-day health and wellbeing campaign to help people through the remaining days of restrictions.

Hauora at Home is based on a Maori philosophy of health and wellbeing and Sport Canterbury’s physical health advisors created a 28-day calendar of ideas and tasks for all ages and all bubbles, keep well and motivated.

The advisors share updates and tips about better sleep, smarter snacks and keeping active at home.