Davina Collins is a busy mother of six. After eight months on the Green Prescription (GRx) programme, the Auckland woman lost 23kg, quit smoking improved her respiratory condition, no longer has pre-diabetes, lowered her blood pressure, and is eating healthy and balanced meals. The flow on effect is great too: two of her daughters and her son are now regulars at the gym and are ‘more active than ever’.
Green Prescription is a free physical activity support service, funded by the Ministry of Health. Sport Auckland is the largest GRx provider in New Zealand, delivering the service in Auckland City and Counties Manukau. The clients meet face to face with qualified GRx Healthy Lifestyle Advisors at community recreation facilities and discuss suitable physical activity options, health workshops, goal setting and meal ideas. There are regular follow-up reviews over the six month period to ensure the client remains motivated and makes real measurable progress toward their goals. Sport Auckland Green Prescription’s registered dietician delivers healthy cooking and eating workshops to complement the physical activity component of the service.
Is the gain worth the ‘pain’?
Research shows that if you were getting regular exercise before you got pregnant, it’s highly likely that you’ll continue to do that. The national study, ‘Growing up in New Zealand, Before We Are Born,’ (2010) reveals that “activity levels during pregnancy were influenced markedly by pre-pregnancy activity levels.” About 61% of the pregnant women in the study were physically active for at least 30 minutes, five days a week (based on the Ministry of Health guidelines) or more before their pregnancy. In the second and third trimesters only 30% of this group maintained this level of physical activity.
Another worrying issue in New Zealand is the rate at which gestational diabetes has been increasing. Over the last ten years the number of pregnancies associated with gestational diabetes has increased to around 5%.
How you can benefit from exercise during and post-pregnancy
Higher energy levels
Exercise will boost the efficiency of your cardiovascular system so that you have better circulation. You’ll be more alert and much better equipped to deal with those long demanding days! Exercise will also help you to get a better quality of sleep, making you more productive the next day.
Go in to childbirth knowing that you already have a good level of fitness. If you’ve been regularly active during the pregnancy, you and your body will bounce back a lot faster than someone who has been less active.
Improved mental health
Moderate intensity physical activity will cause the release of a chemical called serotonin, which will leave you on a high, feeling refreshed and vitalised, and can help to keep depressive symptoms at bay. Between 10–15% of women experience depressive symptoms after having a baby.
You can find out more information about Green Prescription at the website below:
or call 0800 ACTIVE