Helping turn back the clock

A new approach helping turn back the clock on aging and disease – Barbara Kelly may have the answer to one of life’s big problems: the seemingly inevitable decline in health as we age.

Brimming with energy, Barbara Kelly has been a whirlwind in New Zealand sports performance for more than 20 years. The 49 year old sports therapist from Taihape started her programme Event Ready Bodies after becoming frustrated with the number of needless injuries she treated in her Palmerston North sports clinic, Xalt.

Kelly says she had noticed that preparing for a sports event would outperform all other methods of training for clients because of the motivating factor of a date on the calendar, coupled with the positive endorphins and sense of satisfaction from completing it. The Event Ready Bodies programme taps into this phenomenon, as well as offering an exercise prescription, sports psychology, nutrition and work on body realignment in the one package.

Kelly says the programme is an innovative new way of achieving life-long health. Since its launch two years ago, Event Ready Bodies has helped hundreds of recreational athletes participate in multitudes of sports events. In the process, joint stiffness, cardiovascular problems, injuries and fatigue have been addressed and often eliminated.

Kelly says setting a date on the calendar to make improvements by helps make the programme stick. Capacity is then built over time to enter and complete fitness events. The events become new improvement deadlines which are motivating and help people focus on the programme.

“It helps people take responsibility for making small, but continuing improvements to their health,” she says. “It is a programme for beginners, improvers, the injured, or competitive sports people.”

Two or three specialists work on one client to design programmes for their unique situation.

“People focus on improvement rather than decline, learning that our bodies change over time and activity needs should also. With Event Ready Bodies people are getting a comprehensive support crew to guide them.”

Kelly says sport metrics and measurement, history and body statistics are the starting point. With this people can determine what is working and what isn’t.

“Metrics are so important,” Kelly says. “People are either not exercising enough to get a result or they are doing too much. We get the starting point and build on it like a ladder.”

Kelly sees boosting physical literacy as more than just a way to make a living: She believes it is a panacea for a lot of man-made disease. Kelly says a growing number of people are turning back the clock, enjoying the movement of their youth and making appointments with their doctors to reduce their medication after becoming involved with the programme.

“Anybody can train successfully for an event. Event Ready Bodies is a supported process that shows beginner, improving, injured or competitive people how to prepare. We show them how to integrate the concepts into their daily lives and build a fraternity around them so they can train for a better body and a better life.”

Barbara’s top tips:

  • Train don’t exercise. We are all busy, so make your activity time count to improve your health metrics.
  • Your body changes over time so it needs a changing approach. Learn about your new phase. What you don’t know about how your body works is more useful than what you already know.
  • What you measure you can manage. The trick is to measure your body progress enough so you improve, but not so much you regress.
  • Create an “improved by” date. Sign up for an event and master the process to enjoy every step on the day.
  • Remember you are capable of more than you realise.

Leonie lost 16kgs and climbed a mountain

Raetihi woman Leonie Cadman has been transformed – dropping at least two dress sizes and regaining lost energy for life.

Leonie Cadman on top of the world at the Macpac Motatapu last year.

In March 2018 the 59-year-old completed Macpac Motatapu – a 15km walk over challenging terrain in the Wanaka to Queenstown high country. Then it was on to Mt Taranaki, also climbed in March. Rounding out last year was an overseas trip to India in April and May that involved a lot of walking.

But six years ago there was no way she could have done these things. Cadman says she wasn’t sleeping well and her blood pressure and blood sugar readings were creeping up to pre-diabetic levels. The former sheep and beef farmer knew her weight was increasing but she struggled to find the energy to exercise. “I was overweight, but couldn’t get my fitness going.,” says Cadman.

A presentation by Kelly to rural women shocked Cadman into action. A blood pressure reading after the presentation was dangerously high at 140/90.

She started coming to the Xalt centre, in Grey Street, Palmerston North, and signed up for an innovative new programme called Event Ready Bodies.

Soon things started to change. Her blood pressure is now a healthy 128/75. She has lost at least 16kgs and shaved inches from her waist.

But Cadman says the best part is the way she now feels.

“Going from feeling listless and unenergetic, to going overseas – it’s just been life changing for me – totally,” Cadman says. “It’s made things possible.”

And Cadman is not alone.  Kelly estimates more than 650 people have been helped by the Event Ready Bodies system in the last two years. And, like Cadman, the resulting dramatic improvements to health and fitness are opening up new opportunities to enjoy life.

“I know I can do whatever I set my mind to,” Cadman says. “Instead of thinking, ‘You’re getting older, you can’t do this anymore’, it’s like, ‘Why not? Train for it’.”

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