Those of us who are back at work and struggling to find time for fitness in a busy week need to talk to Sue Pollard.
The CEO of the NZ Nutrition Foundation keeps to a strict fitness routine and is a regular competitor in the popular State Beach Series at Takapuna Beach.
"The beach series is an opportunity to swim in the sea every week and socialise afterwards," said the 68-year-old. "It makes me leave work on time each Tuesday. I enjoy the swimming and the social aspect, and I have made new friends."
Pollard is a keen master swimmer and is the president of New Zealand masters swimming. She trains in the pool with the North Shore Masters Club two or three times a week and in the summer once or twice in the sea, averaging about 8-10km per week.
"If I was not working full time I would do more," she said.
It is important for Pollard to remain fit and healthy. "The mission of the NZ Nutrition Foundation is to enhance the quality of life of New Zealanders by encouraging informed, healthy and enjoyable food choices as part of an active lifestyle.
"So I want to practice what I preach, but I also have felt the benefits in improved health and well-being myself after I got back to swimming about 12 years ago after a gap of over 30 years.
"I am keenly aware it is essential to keep active into my old age if I want to have a good quality of life."
She has offered plain advice for people looking to get fit and stay fit in 2012. "We can always find time to do the things we really want to. If it is a priority you will find time.
"Commit to an arrangement with friend and then you will let them down if you don't go."
That is how it starts for many who participate in the series. The event was created in 2005, with just 150 participants taking part in a swim, paddle or run event and has grown to attracting 500 people each week.
It is not just for swimmers, with nine different events people can choose to take part in on the event evening. Athletes choose one per event night, but can change week to week if they wish.
"Families love it," said event director Scott Rice. "We have many turning up together with mum taking part in one discipline, dad in another and the kids in the junior events. It is a relaxed, fun, social atmosphere and gives everyone a mid-week hit out.
"People like fact that they can come down weekly to race or train for their chosen sport in a safe and controlled environment. For the more competitive, we have a unique points system which allows participants to track their progress against others."
The run and swim events (including the junior events) are the most popular but stand-up paddle is growing week by week. It is the perfect environment for people to build confidence in the disciplines of running, swimming and paddling.
"The pressure is off, the vibe is relaxed and social and the event distances are achievable for most people," said Rice.
Pollard offers some advice to people looking to lose weight.
"First of all, I recommend they consult a registered dietitian. General advice would be to look at what you are eating and make changes to improve the nutritional value [of your diet], and to decrease the amount [of food you eat].
"Make changes one at a time. Losing weight involves eating less energy than you are using, so increasing activity levels is also important.
"The State Beach Series would be a good start, but regular walking or gardening are also suitable."
State Beach Series
When: Tuesday evenings from 6pm, until March 13
Where: Takapuna Beach, North Shore, Auckland.
Special deal: First-timer free trial. If any reader hasn't yet taken part in a State Beach Series event this summer, they can try their first event free. They simply need to mention this article and attend the event registration at the Takapuna Boating Club between 5-6pm on any of the remaining Tuesday event evenings (excluding the charity event on March 20).
* 1-1.5km ocean swim (alternate throughout the season)
* 300m junior ocean swim (ages 12 and under)
* 300m novice ocean swim
* 5km beach run
* 2.5km junior run (ages 12 and under)
* 3km stand-up paddle
* 3km board paddle
* 3km novice paddle
* 5km ski paddle by Peter Thornton