Pat Tautu sits by the pool as Brandon takes his blood pressure and glucose levels. Meeting at the Lido in Palmerston North, Pat and Brandon have been working together for a few months, taking small steps, but making huge progress in improving Pat's health.
Pat knew he needed some help, but wasn't sure where to start. The Palmerston North father of four was connected with the Physical Activity Education Service at THINK Hauora and began working with Brandon, a clinical exercise physiologist.
THINK Hauora is the primary health organisation for the MidCentral rohe. We ensure everyone has access to primary care services through a network of general practices and health and wellbeing services like the programme Pat's involved with.
"Brandon weighed me, took my blood pressure, sugar levels, all those things I didn't have a clue about," Pat says. After talking, they decided on a programme based in the pool to help Pat increase his physical activity levels and improve his overall health.
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"I just want to be healthy. I want to make changes, I don't want to lose weight one month and then put double back on. That's not working for me, that's not in my life plan."
There's no doubt Pat is a motivated guy, and he can see the benefits this regular programme is having for him. Working with Brandon means the activities Brandon suggests suit Pat and help him achieve the goals they've set together. The low-impact exercise routine includes some resistance work, weights, and aerobic movements.
Pat encourages others to join this and similar programmes in our district. "I'd say pull down those barriers, and just have a go at it." Pat is so passionate he's encouraged a group of his friends to talk more about their health and do some practical things to improve their wellbeing.
"We've got a chat group going, where you can be honest about your weight losses and weight gains, your sugar levels, all that. We just support each other, share what we've learnt that helps and what doesn't help."
This is just one example of how community-based health and wellbeing programmes can support people in Manawatū to make significant changes to their health. Often someone checks in with their GP or nurse practitioner about a health concern, and then community health programmes can support them to work towards health improvement or long-term condition management goals.
"I love working with people within our communities," Brandon says. "We support them for a number of weeks, get them to a point where they can take charge of their health and wellbeing, and support their whānau and other community members too as well – it's a whole whānau approach."
+ INFO To find out more about health and wellbeing services in your area, talk to your general practice team and ask what support they could refer you to, or visit our website thinkhauora.nz/direct-services.
Hear more from Pat in his own words. Click here to watch his video story.