Whanganui man Peter Schmidt has been able to return to playing bowls, thanks to knee replacement surgery and a Green Prescription.

Mr Schmidt is one of more than 1300 Whanganui people who have benefited from a Green Prescription in the past year.

The Green Prescription is an initiative that aims to improve people's health by living more active lives.

In Mr Schmidt's case, he was given a Green Prescription after knee replacement surgery. He said Green Prescription staff gave him exercises to strengthen his muscles both for before the surgery and during recovery.


"They helped me with specific strength exercises in the Splash Centre gym and in the hydrotherapy pool with gentle walking to aid in my recovery."

Mr Schmidt said before the surgery he had not been able to walk very far or play bowls for a year.

"But now I can start playing bowls again for the season. The secret to a quick recovery is exercise and I would encourage anyone preparing for an operation or recovering from one to exercise and walk in the pools," he said.

Candace Sixtus from the Whanganui District Health said other people who would benefit from Green Prescription include those at risk of arthritis, those with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, and those with weight issues, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

A Green Prescription may include group fitness classes, strength and balance classes, water-based exercise, or walking groups.

Mrs Sixtus said 95 per cent of Green Prescriptions are issued by a GP or practice nurse, with the remainder coming from midwives or hospital specialists. The Whanganui District Health Board contracts Sport Whanganui to deliver the Green Prescription programme.

"If Green Prescriptions can help people increase the level of exercise they do to improve their health and quality of life, it's a win-win for them and our health system," Mrs Sixtus said.