Sport Bay of Plenty

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ActiveVoice: Reviving rural recreation

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A solitary kayak is a great way to get active, but group exercise options can be limited in rural areas.

The abundance of organised recreational opportunities located within the region are staggering – Sport Bay of Plenty is in the process of updating our annual Get Involved Activity Directory and within Rotorua alone, there are 141 activities offering 322 classes per week.

That’s 46 options each day, giving little reason not to have a go and get involved!

On the other hand, if you drive out of the city and into rural communities, your options for organised physical activity become increasingly restricted.

The isolation of living in a rural location, leaving the hustle and bustle behind, is often the appeal – there’s nothing quite like the relaxing surrounds of Mother Nature – and opportunities to be active do exist; they just require a little self-motivation to get going.

You could take a stroll in the bush or out on the farm, start your day with a yoga sun salutation, or enjoy kayaking on the lake, submerging yourself in the tranquillity provided by your settings.

As these activities require more individual ‘up and go’, as opposed to the motivation experienced when attending an exercise class at a specific day, time and place, it can be harder to get active on your own terms.

The results of the 2014 Active New Zealand Survey confirm this, and found that when compared to those living in urban settings, rural residents were less likely to participate in physical activity and did so at a rate of once a fortnight or less.

This rate is significantly lower than the Ministry of Health recommendation for adults to be active 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and poses the question: How can we help support change?

As we speak, our Recreation Advisors have started making contact, connections and networks around the Bay of Plenty with a handful of our surrounding rural communities to support increased recreation opportunities.

In some cases, progress is slow, but this wasn’t unexpected as it takes time to build relationships, establish trust and find a community champion willing to put their hand up and spearhead an activity.

This is a critical element for Sport Bay of Plenty as the relationships between residents in rural communities are strong and we want to support this, to ensure activities are delivered by locals for locals.

If you live rurally, have an interest in increasing recreation within your community or know of someone with the skills or training to start a regular class, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact your local Recreation Team by calling the Sport Bay of Plenty offices on 07 578 0016 (Tauranga), 07 348 4125 (Rotorua) or 07 308 8304 (Whakatane).

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