The best exercise for Māori men

By Tema Hemi

A new study tells what Māori men really think about exercise.

Dr Isaac Warbrick says through his qualitative study he has discovered why Māori men are lacking the motivation to get to the gym and live a more fitness-focused life.

For some exercise is a must on a daily basis, but for others it's more of a burden and many will always find a way around it.  

Warbrick, who conducted the study, says, "This study started at Massey but ended up at AUT.  It was a three-year study but ended up being a four-year study looking at the best exercise for Māori men."

The study shows camaraderie and 'bro-ship' is one of four keys which can get Māori to participate.

"Ultimately these guys have really good reasons.  Providing for whānau, having time with their kids after work, running them around to their different sports and their thinking more of their whānau and others than themselves.

Health statistics for 2016-2017 show 50 percent of Māori are overweight.  

Warbrick says wisdom can be found in whakataukī. 

"We've got whakataukī that have some amazing whakāro in there. There are some awesome motivating type thoughts that are woven inside our whakataukī."

Despite all the gym talk and motivational memes on social media saying 'there's no excuse not to exercise' sometimes priorities get in the way.

Warbrick says, "Rather than measuring ourselves by our weight and looking at what a scale says how about we [are].  I don't know what it will look like but maybe [we could] measure ourselves according to how our tūpuna were."

Nearly all participants of the study say they want to be healthy role models for their children.