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NZ helping countries open up to exercise

Supplied photo.

Many of the world’s exercise industry organisations are turning to New Zealand as they prepare to “fully open up post-COVID lockdown”.

ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to re-open significantly after lockdown.

Richard says New Zealand has been in a unique position to share advice and plans with other countries, so they can do it safely and also in a way that supports physical activity levels.

He is part of weekly Zoom sessions with international exercise associations, international gym chains, industry experts and the World Health Organisation, with about 20 to 30 countries taking part.

“We are now actively engaging with the Ministry of Health around what protocols may be required should any further level changes take place – the key is we have time to plan, so have been doing it.

“New Zealand’s industry has not been without its problems because of COVID. There are huge challenges due to the lease and availability of spaces of which to work out of with many smaller providers working out of shared spaces which is a challenge in the current environment.”

Rebecca Harford, Christchurch trainer and studio owner, says the industry has had a big knock due to COVID.

“It has inspired some to think outside of the box and really rethink how they were providing services, pricing how to manage memberships and more.

“I think as our industry is predominantly sub-contractor relationships, this has really been challenged whether in the current environment with the government support whether this is the best way for the industry to manage its employment relationships.

“There still appears to be a lack of public understanding of the value of exercise professionals in the general community compared to other treatment providers in the allied health realm.”

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