Due to the lack of physical activity in modern day lifestyles, numerous health risks have emerged. This inactivity has caused deterioration of the body’s physical function, which has resulted in many more cases of premature death and poor quality of life due to the onset of hypokinetic disease.

Statistics in New Zealand paint a pretty bleak picture when it comes to injury and illness. In 2017 a total of 231,100 work-related injury claims were made.

According to the Ministry of Health, 32% of adults are obese, 12% children (Under age 15) are obese and obesity contributes to an alarming percentage of all illness, disability, and premature mortality. And 186,000 people are living with heart disease.

The 2016/17 New Zealand Health Survey found that one in six New Zealand adults had been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some time in their lives. This includes depression, bipolar disorders and anxiety disorders.

Not all hope is lost though. The evidence is clear that physical activity can reduce the risk of injury and aids in rehabilitation of physical injuries, metabolic conditions and mental health problems. It also contributes to a stronger immune system and weight loss that promotes health and wellbeing.

Here is an excerpt from the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand:

“Physical activity releases endorphins into your blood stream. These are the body’s natural painkillers and are responsible for the pleasant ‘feel good’ factor often felt after being active.

Physical activity improves muscle and heart function, increases blood flow to the brain and increases the efficiency of brain chemicals. It can also promote better sleep. There is some evidence that being active can improve cognitive functioning in older people.

Physical activity has psychological benefits too. It can: – improve self-esteem – give you a sense of control over your life – promote a sense of positive achievement – help with weight control – provide opportunities for socialising and making new friends.”

Addressing this big issue in New Zealand requires a strong multi-disciplinary approach to ensure the health and wellbeing of the population.

Part of this multi-disciplinary team is the medically recognised professional discipline of Accredited Exercise Physiology (AEP).

An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can be thought of as a specialised exercise therapist that functions in professional alliance to health and medicine. It can also be defined as an individual who specialises in the delivery of exercise, lifestyle and behaviour modification programmes for the prevention, management and rehabilitation of chronic conditions, diseases and injuries.

AEPs improve an individual’s physical status and quality of life through individualised assessment and exercise prescription in dual context of clinical pathology (acute and chronic) and performance enhancement.

Wintec’s Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance have been training and equipping Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Science students for the past three years and also boasts a Biokinetic Clinic that utilises AEPs and post graduate students to provide a specialised service to the community.

The Biokinetic Clinic provides individualised exercise and lifestyle education for clients across a wide spectrum of health, from the apparently healthy to those with diagnosed conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease or chronic pain or injury.

The AEP plays an important role in the multi-disciplinary team by providing specialised exercise testing, exercise programming and client education (within their professional scope of practice) in conjunction with other medical and allied health professionals.

In the New Zealand context there is, under the Treaty of Waitangi, a commitment to Maori health, Pacific health and the multi-cultural NZ population.

At the Wintec Biokinetic Centre it is taught that exercise is medicine. The holistic approach aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of this beautiful country.

The centre offers a variety of packages and options including an eight-week, twice per week free programme to individuals who meet the terms and conditions. A new Corporate Wellness initiative to promote health and wellbeing in the marketplace has also been launched.

Visit https://www.wintec.ac.nz/whph/biokinetic-centre for more information.

About Michiel

Michiel Badehorst is passionate about encouraging and educating young athletes. With a focus on youth obesity, safe training, functional physical development, long term athletic development and active lifestyle, Michiel is the Strength and Conditioning co-ordinator at St.Paul’s Collegiate School, Hamilton. Having grown up on a farm in South Africa, Michiel received his honours degree in Biokinetics (Musculosceletal Excercises Science and Rehabiliatation) from the University of the Free State in 2004. He has worked at a high school in youth athletic development and owned a CrossFit affiliate.