Whanganui District Council and Arthritis New Zealand three-year cycling pilot project in Whanganui

Philip Kearney (Arthritis New Zealand Chief Executive), Maria Cording (Whanganui Venues & Events Coordinator), Pernille Lunn Erstad and Michelle McKenzie (Let’s Go Cycling Skills Instructors) and Norman Gruebsch (Active Transport Facilitator)

Whanganui District Council and Arthritis New Zealand are developing a Council-led cycling collaboration in the form of a three-year pilot project to encourage people with arthritis (particularly osteoarthritis) to start cycling, return to cycling or keep cycling.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition of the joints which commonly occurs in the hands and weight-bearing joints (such as feet, ankles, knees, hips and spine).

Finding motivation to exercise can be difficult, especially if you’re aching all over. However, exercise improves the condition and Arthritis New Zealand promotes cycling as a good form of physical activity for those with arthritis of the hips, knees and feet.

Cycling improves the range of movement, strengthens the legs, and increases cardiovascular fitness. The flow-on effect is often prevention of worsening symptoms, a reduction in pain and improvements in everyday functioning and sleep.

Whanganui District Council is pleased to work with Arthritis New Zealand to develop this Council-led cycling pilot project. The Council-led Let’s Go programme focuses on making walking, cycling and scootering a popular and safe travel choice for the people of Whanganui. “This collaboration with Arthritis New Zealand is a first because it targets a local community group with specific health issues. It aims to raise their health and wellbeing, and achieve the active transportation outcomes that the Let’s Go programme promotes,” says Norman Gruebsch, Active Transport Facilitator at the Council.

“We want this programme to lead the country. Whanganui is the perfect place to run a pilot programme because there’s so much going on here in terms of cycling,” says Arthritis New Zealand CE Philip Kearney.

For more information about the Council-led Let’s Go programme, visit: http://letsgowhanganui.org.nz/about/

More information about osteoarthritis, visit: https://www.arthritis.org.nz/osteoarthritis/

And, more information about living well with arthritis, visit: https://www.arthritis.org.nz/your-arthritis/living-well/

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