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HealthInfo Canterbury

Support for getting active

There are several initiatives to help adults get physically active. Some of them are free or subsidised but you may have to pay for others.

Comcare Trust

Comcare Trust provides Activelinks for people aged 18 or over with mental illness or addiction issues to get active through increasing participation in physical activity, sport, recreation and leisure pursuits. A health professional can refer you. You can also refer yourself or a whānau (family) member can refer you by filling in this referral form or phoning 0800-377-702.

Staff with a fitness training qualification and a certificate in mental health support deliver Activelinks. The aim is to promote independence and involvement in community life with a focus on health and wellbeing.

Support options include:

Community group strength and balance classes

Use the Live Stronger for Longer website to find a class near you. Classes are for people aged 50 or older who want to improve their strength and balance and reduce their risk of falling. Most classes are available at low cost.

If you aren't sure which class is best for you, you can fill in this self-referral form or phone 021-771-7474. A coordinator will discuss the options with you and enrol you in a class.

Emerge Aotearoa

Emerge Aotearoa provides the Activity Based Experience (ABE) programme for people aged over 18 with mental illness or addiction issues. A health professional can refer you. You can also refer yourself or a whānau member can refer you by emailing Emerge Aotearoa or phoning (03) 371-5599.

The programme offers:

Physical activity class or programme

Use the Greater Christchurch sport and recreation guide to find a physical activity class or programme near you. Most of the activities are available at low or no cost.

This Sport Canterbury document has a list of classes and programmes for people with specific health conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, heart conditions and so on.


PhysioFITT is a physical activity and exercise programme provided by private physiotherapists. The physiotherapist will assess your individual needs and develop an activity plan tailored to you. This plan will help you overcome whatever has made it hard to exercise and improve your health, wellbeing or performance.

You're likely to have three or four sessions with your physiotherapist over three to six months, depending on how much support and advice you want.

PhysioFITT is a private programme. Funding might be available from Work and Income through the disability allowance, some health insurance policies or ACC if you have an accepted claim and PhysioFITT will help your rehabilitation. Otherwise, you'll have to pay for it yourself.

Personal trainer

A personal trainer (registered exercise professional) can provide safe and effective exercise advice.

Straighten Up

The Straighten Up initiative was developed by the New Zealand Chiropractor's Association to encourage better posture for better health. The website includes information and exercises you can do to improve your posture.

If you need help with improving your posture, contact your chiropractor or general practice team.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created March 2023.


Page reference: 39550

Review key: HIKEA-53695