The notion that Hawke's Bay residents are, for want of a better word, lazy, when it comes to exercise is surprising.

Surprising because this is a region ideally suited to physical activity, particularly outdoors.

The landscape, the weather, the rivers, the sea - there is little reason to not want to get outside and do something.

There is a good reason Hawke's Bay is promoted as the nation's cycling capital.


Our terrain is ideally suited to multiple forms of cycling on and off road, and the region's cycle track network is a thing to behold. Plus we have a world class velodrome.

But according to the Ministry of Health's 2017 Health and Independence Report, only 38 per cent of adults aged 15 and over are doing the recommended two and a half hours of exercise a week.

Sport Hawke's Bay's chief executive, Mark Aspden, says other surveys show different results - up to 5.3 hours a week for adults and 11.3 hours a week of physical activity for kids.

According to the MoH study, the West Coast was the most active region with 65 per cent of adults doing at least two and a half hours of exercise per week.

Nationally, about 50 per cent of adults exercise regularly.

As a recent convert to the Hawke's Bay lifestyle, our teenage son is already into one winter sport, has started training for a summer sport and has politely asked if he could have a mountain bike - all within a month of living here.

I'll be honest, I'm leaning toward Aspden's data on this one and starting to wonder if the MoH data perhaps has a flaw in its methodology.

Regardless, it's a chance to reflect on our own activity, or in my case inactivity, and remind ourselves of the social, mental and physical benefits of exercise.


Certainly, in my case, the only way is up, as in up off the couch and out the door toward a healthier, better lifestyle. And there's no better region in the country than Hawke's Bay to do it in.