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HealthInfo Waitaha 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. This is for people aged 18 or over with mental illness or addiction issues. The programme aims to help them get active. It does this 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 are not sure which class is best for you, you can fill in this self-referral form or phone 027-771-7473. 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. This is 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. These include arthritis, diabetes, heart conditions and so on.


A physiotherapist will assess your individual needs and develop an activity plan for you. This plan will help you overcome whatever has made it hard to exercise. It will help you improve your health, wellbeing or performance.

You are likely to have 3 or 4 sessions with your physiotherapist over 3 to 6 months. But this will depend on how much support and advice you want.

Funding to see a physiotherapist might be available from Work and Income through the disability allowance. Some health insurance policies might provide cover. ACC will pay if you have an accepted claim and seeing a physiotherapist will help your rehabilitation. Otherwise, you will 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. It aims 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 physiotherapist.

The Kind Foundation

The Kind Foundation offers the Life Fit programme for older adults. Life Fit is not just a programme, it is a community for like-minded older adults to move their bodies together in a fun, safe, friendly and social environment. There is a small cost to attend sessions. Sessions are held in the central city and Bishopdale.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2024.


Page reference: 39550

Review key: HIKEA-53695