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Green Prescription Paves Way to Healthier Lifestyles

Green Prescription Paves Way to Healthier Lifestyles

Regional Sports Trust, Sport Wellington is paving the way to healthier lifestyles through their Green Prescription programme.

Run by Sport Wellington, Green Prescription (GRx) is a primary health initiative that aims to increase physical activity and provide nutritional support. The region wide programme is completely free and assists up to 2800 patients a year. GRx looks to combat medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and/or mental illness using physical activity, sport and nutrition as a vehicle to health and wellbeing.

The team link their patients into services, sports and activities that build their community and social wellbeing as well as their health. They provide advice, support and resources, reducing barriers and enabling patients access to everything needed in the path to a healthier lifestyle. One aspect of this is the participation in various community sporting events. For the fifth consecutive year, Sport Wellington sponsored Green Prescriptions patients to take part in the AMI Round the Bays. Up from last years 59, this years event saw 81 members of the Green Prescription programme participate.

Wellington woman Annette Lynch, 73, was referred to GRx in February 2013. In 2011, Annette was diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis of the joints, back, knees and ankles making everyday movement a painful struggle and leaving her dependant on a walking frame to get around. Determined not to let her condition slow her down, Annette began the Healthy Lifestyle programme run by Green Prescription, an 8 week program designed to educate on nutrition while encouraging and facilitating physical activity.

12 months later, through extreme determination and her work with the GRx team, Annette no longer relies on her walking frame. She no longer lets her condition stop her from enjoying life and walks with her grandchildren, and even set a goal to walk the biggest distance she has since she was a young woman.

Taking one painstaking step at a time, with Healthy Lifestyle programme coordinator Toshy Rapana by her side, Annette Lynch successfully completed the 6.5km walk at AMI Round the Bays 2014 with a time of 2.00.33. Annette admits “I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but I got there. I feel like I have really achieved something.” Annette has not only served as an inspiration to others taking part in the program but the Green Prescription team themselves. “I’m just so inspired,” says Toshy, “she suffers pain on a daily basis, but accepts it with such compassion and spirit.”

When asked what she would tell others in a similar situation, Annette’s advice was “you can surprise yourself if you’re determined enough to do it. If you struggle, try to find someone who can help support you or perhaps join an exercise group or social group.”

As they crossed they finish line, well after most had already finished and were on their way home, Toshy and Annette celebrated their success with a high five. Though her work with GRx is complete, Annette hopes to maintain an active lifestyle and has her sights set on the 2015 Round the Bays with a goal to beat her 2014 time of 2 hours.

For more information on Sport Wellington and Green Prescription visit www.sportwellington.org.nz.

ENDS

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