In March 2019, by invitation from Tim Webster of Exercise as Medicine NZ, WRIGHT Foundation CIC delivered two ‘Exercise as Medicine’ courses in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand. The courses were based on our sought-after Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral course.
Principal Lecturer Gavin Loze made the journey from the UK to the other side of the world to deliver the training. He had been promised by host Tim Webster “stunning scenery and a group of eager exercise professionals who are keen to learn“.
Let’s read what Gavin experienced about New Zealand.
WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: a sunny welcome awaits Gavin in Auckland!
Jet-lag aside, I had an amazing experience in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Three flights from the Manchester to Auckland did take their toll, but I was pleasantly surprised by the ‘special-order’ veggie in-flight meals, which were always distributed first and well-before the feeding the meat-eating economy-class passengers, who glanced in my direction with a look of combined intrigue, disgust and envy!
During the weekend prior to the first course, I was able to do a bit of sight-seeing around Auckland and across the harbour to the picturesque Waiheke Island, ably escorted by Tim, my most hospitable host for duration of the trip. The weather was hot and humid, but I was warned about the strength of the sun in NZ, so I tried to suppress my British inclination to make the most of the sun’s rays to boost my ‘winter-starved’ levels of Vitamin D. I was persuaded by Tim—eventually—to ‘slap-on’ factor-50 and wear a cap.
WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: Delivering Exercise as Medicine course in Auckland
The course venue in Auckland was excellent and accommodated the large group of students, many of whom had roots spreading across the globe including the UK. Jet-lag had truly set-in by the Monday morning, but I managed to fight the ill-effects, which dissipated over the next few days.
It was interesting to learn and experience differences in health-related statistics between the UK and native NZ inhabitants, with a greater emphasis on the prevalence of obesity and type-2 diabetes mellitus. The students attending the course had a more varied background than their counterparts in the UK, with a wider scope of practice and experiences, and interesting questions and stories to offer. All-in-all, the course went well, after which we hurried-off to the airport for our transfer-flight from Auckland on the North Island to Christchurch on the South Island.
WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: On to Christchurch
Staying with Tim and and his wife Kris in Christchurch, I was escorted around the sights from downtown Christchurch—still in recovery from the earthquakes in 2011. The city combines an eclectic mix of modern ‘earthquake-proof’ architecture and traditional ‘colonial’ buildings that survived the ‘Big-One’. We ventured further afield to Akaroa—another picturesque town on the shores of a harbour surrounded by foreboding volcanic features.
I completed my first proper gym training session of the trip during the weekend, which was welcomed by my body and mind. Kris and Tim continued to be gracious hosts so that my ‘time-off’ was enjoyable and relaxing.
WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: Delivering Exercise as Medicine course in Christchurch
The course in Christchurch got-off to a great start with another large group of students who again were from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, interests and experiences. One of the students had flown-in from Japan just to attend the course. The venue was a modern ‘leisure centre’ built as part of the recovery from the earthquakes in 2011. Jet-lag was a thing of the past and the course passed smoothly through to the final day on Friday.
The students were taking their final assessment when news broke about an initial ‘shooting’ in the city. The centre was put in lock-down’ and we were told to stay away from windowed areas and remain in the centre until further notice. The real power of social media then came to the fore, as rumours and news started to filter through about the shocking events of the mass-shooting; though, the real horror of the events didn’t fully sink-in until I arrived back in the UK. Subsequently, I was informed that one of the students would have been in the mosque at the time of the shooting, had he not been attending the course! My best wishes go to him and all those involved in such a terrible incident.
WRIGHT Foundation in New Zealand: Going home to the UK and reflection.
Amidst the aftermath of the previous day’s events, I embarked on the journey home: four flights, six in-flight meals, four films and a few hours of broken sleep, taking 38 hours from leaving Kris and Tim’s home to arriving at my home!
Jet-lag appeared with a vengeance, culminating in me feeling like a true zombie two days after my arrival home!
Now having had time to reflect on my experiences, I look forward to returning to NZ to continue my explorations and to be part of the development of exercise referral in NZ, under the guise of ‘exercise as medicine’.
We were delighted to receive the following feedback from students who attended the course. We have no doubt that the positive comments reflect on Gavin’s professionalism and expertise in delivering WRIGHT Foundation courses.
- If you are serious about helping your community with their health and wellbeing, you need this knowledge.
- This course has given me the knowledge and confidence to assess and treat most of the conditions around through safe and progressive exercise.
- An outstanding foundation course for exercise professionals who are interested in safe and effective exercise prescription and coaching for referred patients.
- The best week of professional development you can find in NZ.
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