Encouraging and supporting physical activity in our community

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health wants to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in our region by supporting the population to become more physically active.

Being physically active helps prevent and manage a wide range of conditions and diseases including:

  • Heart disease and hypertension;
  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • Stroke;
  • Cancers such as breast cancer and colon cancer;
  • Depression, dementia and anxiety;
  • Osteoporosis and fractures; and
  • Obesity.

The key messages on physical activity and health are:

  • Be active every day in as many ways as possible – for at least 30 minutes for adults and at least 60 minutes for children.
  • Add some vigorous exercise for extra benefit and fitness.
  • Aim to maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
  • Reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down.

Mental Wellbeing and Physical Activity

Physical activity releases the “feel good” chemicals (endorphins) into the body, making you feel better.
Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health actively promotes the Five Ways for Wellbeing.

Community and Public Health contributes to the Equally Well Project. This project aims to reduce physical health disparities between people who experience mental health and addiction problems and people who don’t.

Staff at the Christchurch office of Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health work with people in disadvantaged areas and run the BuyCycles pilot project in partnership with the Community Focus Trust.

Rushing back to exercise could cause long COVID

Long COVID is when symptoms persist past four weeks from the initial infection and can last for several months.

International estimates suggest 10 to 30 percent of COVID-19 cases will experience ongoing symptoms. The most important thing you can do is rest and avoid any intense exercise or busy activities in your recovery, says Dr Anna Brooks – a cellular immunologist at the University of Auckland.

“It is incredibly important to avoid Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) – or any overexertion or stressors too soon, as this may exacerbate symptoms and cause further damage.”

Contributing to physical activity in the community

Active Canterbury Network.Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health is a member of Active Canterbury which lists local groups, clubs or classes for activities and gives information about parks, tracks and facilities. We support this network in its work to:

  • supply activity providers and health professionals with the tools and information needed to help people get more active, more often;
  • raise awareness of training and funding opportunities to support physical activity; and
  • provide education programmes that meet the needs of local community physical activity providers and the wider fitness industry.

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health also supports workplaces to improve staff wellbeing by increasing their physical activity.

We also work to ensure our urban areas are designed to encourage physical activity collaboratively with key stakeholders across the region. This includes green spaces, recreational parks and walking trails, and making forms of active transport easier more accessible (such as public transport, walking and cycling). This is achieved by contributing to local and regional planning strategies and initiatives.

Supporting balanced female health

Sport NZ recognises that female-specific needs in community sport are unique.  It is critical for coaches, parents, instructors and administrators to understand female health be able to respond and provide support for young people to be active in ways that boost their wellbeing.

Balanced Female Health is a new resource for adults supporting young people in community sport. This resource was developed by health professionals working in the sport sector and covers changes throughout female puberty, the menstrual cycle, and factors that impact the physical health and mental wellbeing of all young people.



Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


Contact your local office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777

Ph: +64 3 687 2600

Ph: +64 3 768 1160

Low cost physical activity options in your area

There are many activities that are free or for low cost for anyone to join in your region. The following information sheets list are some of the options available near you.

Push Play campaign image of a girl running through a field towards the camera. Source: Sport NZ.

Health risks of physical inactivity

Page last updated: 05/03/2024

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