Whanganui will host a pilot project aiming to get people with arthritis to start cycling.

Exercise can help improve the condition, particularly osteoarthritis, 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 and the flow-on effect is often prevention of worsening symptoms, a reduction in pain and improvements in everyday functioning and sleep.

Whanganui District Council and Arthritis New Zealand are collaborating to develop a three-year pilot project which will help achieve goals for both organisations.


The council's Let's Go programme focuses on making walking, cycling and scootering a popular and safe travel choice for the people of Whanganui.

"The collaboration with Arthritis New Zealand is a first because it targets a local community group with specific health issues with the goal of raising their health and wellbeing, at the same time as achieving the active transportation outcomes that the Let's Go programme promotes," said council active transport facilitator Norman Gruebsch.

Arthritis NZ chief executive Philip Kearney said it wanted this to be a programme that would 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."