AKTour: Ariel Hoffman’s Diary. Week 4.


Tip #15: The meaning of Fitness to the Kiwis
As you may have guessed, fitness and daily physical activity is quite popular among the kiwis. In larger cities, such as Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Nelson, gyms are widely available and offer many different activities for fitness, much like the ones that are found in the US. But In the smaller cities/towns, I noticed that most of the fitness available is related to the outdoors and playing recreational sports, especially in the summertime.
From the locals whom I spoke with, they seem to take a different attitude towards fitness, looking at it in terms as fun, rather than a chore. On an given day, it is not uncommon for someone to row in the morning, when the sun comes up, have a full work day, and then go for a swim, a bike ride, run, or walk, and then also do their yoga and pilates. It’s like they are all doing their own personal triathlon, or summer camp on a daily basis, and I find this very impressive. I also have to admit that due to the beautiful surroundings, I actually felt guilty if I did not take advantage of finding multiple activities to do outside every day. More than half of the adult population participate in sport and recreational physical activities, and meet or surpass the 30min/day, 5 days a week standard, and is not really seen as much of a challenge.
Another interesting thing that due to the large farming industry I noticed that the farmers are very fit , especially in the less populated areas. Most days they will work outside doing hard physical labor, and then it is likely for them to go on a 20mile bike ride afterwards, or hit the gym. Interestingly enough, the most common physical activities there are walking, running, swimming, and who can forget, gardening.
Most kiwis whom I spoke with knew of aerobics, pilates, and yoga, but intesnse circuit training, and dance based fitness, didn’t appear to be heard of much (the closest thing they heard of was zumba, or Richard Simmons. Ha:) But they did get extremely excited when I told them what my occupation is. Either way, the kiwis have a good thing going, even though they too are starting to fight the obesity epidemic. The main difference is their attitude towards fitness and towards life in general. They seem to be well aware and connected to that fact that not only is fitness something that humans are made to do, but it can and should also be fun.
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Tip #16: Kiwi Cuisine
New Zealand cuisine is quite tasty tends to be mostly meat, fish, and local vegetables. Though, just like anywhere in the world, there are also some bad choices available. In order to avoid those not so good for you options, I usually look for cafes that are considered Delicatessens. These places are not like the delis in NY, and they usually carry higher quality produce and often have a variety of healthier options. Though it can be challenging, whenever I travel, I always try to scout out the good food by asking some of the locals where they go to eat fresh food, and I am often times pointed in a good direction. Just look at this beautiful lunch that I was able to find at a delicatessen in Taupo. It’s a fresh cauliflower salad, mixed with a Greek salad with a beet and carrot medley. Yummy.

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