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Women’s only studio takes supreme NZ exercise facility award


Ōtepoti – The winner of the best exercise studio in New Zealand says Kiwis need to be more active and she loves doing the mahi in her Dunedin gym to help women exercise more.

Tash Columbus from Dunedin has just won the best club and supreme exercise facilities awards at the annual ExerciseNZ gala event.

New Zealand has hundreds of big gyms and fitness facilities, so it was remarkable and astonishing a small Dunedin workout place, #TeamTash Training, took out best studio and supreme exercise facility at the latest awards event. 

But Columbus says she enjoys the challenge to help Kiwis get more active and feel better.

“My gym just helps wāhine and if they do something they love they will have a positive response to exercise and feel better about themselves.

“Our specialty is group fitness. We believe group fitness for wāhine makes exercising fun, social and empowering. This is some of the primary reasons wāhine succeed with getting healthier.

“When they find classes they enjoy doing, that they look forward to attending, it’s so much easier to maintain consistently, which equal results,” she says.

“We are need to be more active as a nation. The exercise industry needs support from government and schools. 

“An inactive person costs the nation $2500 a year. If we can support inactive people to be active then that cost goes away, saving individuals and taxpayers. The health benefits are literally massive. It is mind-blowing. 

“The government needs to see just how important hei mahi (exercise) is. They could do so much in terms of some kind of funding and education. Us trainers and Richard Beddie the chief executive of ExerciseNZ would love to lay out a draft plan for government to consider getting Kiwis fitter.

“ExerciseNZ is doing the hard mahi on it, explaining the benefits to us all, and the cost saving on the nation would be outstanding.” 

Physical activity helps on so many levels, everything from diabetes to dementia, but also it’s a massive benefit to mental health, better than any medication at a public health level.  

While physical activity helps people with obesity, there is so much more to active movement than weight control, from mental health to slowing down degenerative diseases later in life.

New Zealand has one of the worst rates of children’s physical activity in the world with 90 percent not meeting the minimum WHO guidelines for activity.

The solution needs to involve government, schools and whanau as well as those that delivery physical activity options in and out of education settings, Columbus says.

Programmes in schools should take into account physical literacy as well as physical activity levels, using a range of tools to help young people move their bodies.

“Exercise is important for so many reasons and our number one focus is mental health. It also helps pump oxygen to the brain, lowering the level of stress hormones and increasing mood-enhancing serotonin levels. 

For further information contact Tash Columbus on 0275135757 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188