Lifestyle column

The Southern’s new lifestyle page is about fitness and health in the region.

We hope to celebrate local people’s successful fitness ventures from the likes of the Walk It groups – getting people out walking and chatting – to ultramarathoners. We want to hear about health recoveries. We want to cover the latest health initiatives in the region and hear from complementary practitioners on new or fabulous therapies. Ditto new exercise ideas in the region’s gyms and with local personal trainers. We’d love updates from local dieticians and nutritionists. So please get in touch: if you don’t tell us about what you’re up to, who else is going to?

We also want to hear your fitness and healthy eating tips. If working out outside is your buzz, tell us why you think it’s effective. If you think dates with almond butter cut it instead of chocolate, let’s be hearing from you.

My interest in fitness started when I’d broken up with a bloke and was drunk and morose with my brother and bunch of Chay Blyth’s round-the-world sailors in Hobart years ago. So I said I was going to bike round New Zealand. Last time I’d cycled I was eight and last time I’d done any exercise at all I was 17 – a “cross country run”, aherm, out the school gates and behind the nearest wall to smoke a lot. I set off from Christchurch into a headwind. Crying happened. How could it be this difficult? (Ditching the knobbly tyres a week later helped). I finished for the day, set up my tent and could still see the city. But I met other fools on bikes in the days that followed who encouraged me and biked with me ... anything is better than nothing when it comes to exercise I think (as opposed to chocolate when more is better, obviously).

We plan to offer this space to specialist columnists. If you are a body worker, physio, nutritionist, dietician, personal trainer or someone else involved in helping people with fitness and health and would like to write a regular column, please email susan.windram@jpress.co.uk and sally.gillespie@jpress.co.uk with an example of what you would write in 350 words.