From entire families to students, Green Prescription has already made a difference in so many people’s lives.
Through his long-standing career in the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF), he has always had an active life. However, Charles says, his seizure was a setback in his health.
Charles first heard about the Green Prescription programme (GRx) through his NZDF therapy councillor Susan Aitken.
“Engaging with the GRx programme has given me a different insight into exercise and overall wellness. I learnt that exercise is about quality and not so much the quantity and going 100 miles an hour all the time,” says Charles.
Taking the time to slow down and reflect on this, has allowed Charles to feel a sense of achievement and peace of mind. Goal setting has been a huge part of Charles’ journey. He says, “I now have a better sense of pacing myself and setting realistic goals.”
When asked what his future goals were, Charles replied, “to be able to continue with my current wellness journey and then to hopefully complete a half marathon and then a full marathon.”
Charles has learnt many valuable skills throughout the GRx programme. “I have learnt everything from, how to read food labels, to the healthy food plate model, and new recipes.” This invaluable information Charles now puts into practice and is now the main cook in his house.
“All the GRx staff and external presenters were great. Their general awareness, knowledge, and support given was greatly received.”
Charles says, “I wish to thank all the tutors for their support and a special mention to Andre (GRx advisor) who was a great motivator, had awesome knowledge, very approachable, took the time to listen, guide and encourage us all in the gym. Tēnā ra koutou katoa, e hoa mā. Ka nui te aroha mōku mo tēnei kaupapa hauora.”
Vincent, once a smoker, heavy drinker, and illnesses overtaking his life, realised something needed to change. He was told years ago by his doctor this exact same thing but never took it seriously. Until one day something clicked, and Vincent realised he needed to take back control of his health.
Vincent had suffered with pulmonary hypertension, that caused painful swelling in his hands and feet, which stopped him from living a normal life. He says he was “bedridden for years on end.”
“Before GRx, I could barely walk to the letterbox without taking a rest.”
Vincent spent about a year on his own trying to improve his health and fitness by struggled with motivation and a lack of routine. Vincent’s friend told him about the GRx Programme and he then went to refer himself online.
The GRx Programme gave him structure in his week. He knew he had to show up every Tuesday and Thursday to the classes, and this is what kept him accountable. Vincent says he thrives off routine, something he lacked prior to going the GRx programme.
Vincent has now created his own routine which still consists of the GRx classes as well as going to the gym.
Vincent’s swelling is now well under control since his lifestyle has changed, allowing him to be more active.
“I honestly can’t thank the GRx team enough for what they’ve done for me. Thank you to the GRx team for changing my life.”
Vincent was also a recipient of the Active Communities Fund. This fund aims to remove financial barriers to enable people to be more active, more often. Vincent received a full year’s gym membership to assist him on his health journey.
As a result of chemotherapy, the remaining parts of the tumour were destroyed and Sam was put on many different medications to artificially replace the work of her pituitary gland. The disease and subsequent medication intake left Sam with some mental, emotional and physical sequels (like weakness and weight gain). Active Teens (along with other providers), are helping Sam to address and resolve these side-effects.
Sam and her family knew she needed help, and eventually was referred to the Active Teens programme in Feilding. Sam said “the Active Teens instructors were supportive and encouraging and overtime I started to wish that Active Teens wasn’t just once a week, but held more often in Feilding. Active Teens also welcomed my brother and he supported me by exercising with me. Active Teens has encouraged me to want to exercise more’’.
Sam has now joined the gym and is going four times a week, and enjoying it! Sam says “The feeling that I am achieving through fitness and feeling great after I have completed a workout is what I find enjoyable.
He was only exercising one or two days a month which resulted in his blood pressure being high and out of control much like his asthma. He found it hard doing simple everyday tasks which made him feel tired and breathless with no energy to do anything especially when it came to his energetic daughter.
Throughout the GRx programme Alex has learnt how to set achievable goals and the importance of doing so, and how to exercise in a gym environment. He has also learnt about eating a balanced diet, portion size, and what to look out for when buying certain foods at the supermarket. With all this new found education Alex has lost 45kgs meaning he had to buy new clothes as his old ones were too big, blood pressure has lowered, asthma is now under control, and everyday tasks like putting on shoes and socks do not make him breathless anymore. He has found a love for the gym which he never thought would happen and tries to get there 2-3 days a week. He finds the repetitions of each exercise relaxing and finds something very satisfying in feeling tired and sore after a workout, like he has really accomplished something. If he can’t get to the gym, he will at least try to walk somewhere daily.
Alex feels he has had a lot of encouragement from staff involved with the programme and finds them very approachable with any concerns or questions he has had. The environment is inclusive and accepting of everyone, and provides support, knowledge, and encouragement on his health journey and would recommend the programme to others.
“Before engaging with the GRx programme I wasn’t exercising much at all. My eating habits were not good and wasn’t motivated to get up and do anything. I was really struggling with my knee pain and carrying the extra weight wasn’t helping me with my mobility issues.”
During the course of the programme Phyllis has made some great changes to her lifestyle. “I now go to Makino pool four times a week. (Water based activities has meant that I can actually move freely with minimal pain). I am also doing resistance band exercises at home (which I learnt how to use at GRx) on most days of the week.” Some other benefits that Phyllis has gained from the GRx programme is receiving some “helpful tips around eating well, reading food labels, setting goals and helping me to identify with exercises that work for me”.
From these fantastic changes Phyllis has become more mindful on making sure she eats well and makes exercise a priority. “Since being on the programme I have lost weight and feel I have more energy and able to do so much more.”
When asked what she liked best about the GRx programme Phyllis responded “that it is not too formal. You can choose what you want to take part in and are encouraged to work at your own pace. I enjoy the friendliness of the group and the laughs that we share when we exercise. The first meeting was so welcoming and non-threatening. The GRx team are great facilitators which I believe is the key to the success of this programme.”
“The GRx programme has really helped me get on a positive track in terms of my wellbeing. I am really happy with my progress so far. I intend to keep up my exercise routine and improved eating habits as my big goal is to lose enough weight to be eligible to get knee surgery.”
“Thank you to the GRx team for putting together this great programme in Feilding. I had heard about it but it took the push by my doctor/physio to get me on board. I truly believe that this programme works. I didn’t feel pressured into doing anything I didn’t want to do. I have taken the tips from the class sessions and used them when buying groceries, or dealing with the pain in my knee. I now have found the motivation to continue with the lifestyle changes I have made. I am looking forward to my next GP visit in December to show the progress I have made.”