Finding time for exercise! How the Green Prescription Maternal Programme has helped motivate and support Casey Aranui with healthy lifestyle changes.
Casey Aranui, Ngāti Pāhauwera, is so dedicated to staying fit and well for her family she goes to the gym at 3.30am.
‘I love it. My husband comes with me and it’s our time together,’ says the 31-year-old who never misses an opportunity to add exercise to her day while juggling a busy household.
The mother of four hasn’t always been that committed to her health. Casey was despondent about cumulative weight after her first three pregnancies and shared this with her midwife when pregnant with baby four.
‘I didn’t want to lose weight because I was pregnant with Khyber-James, but I wanted to know how to live healthier. I needed get-up-and-go to chase the kids because they are fast and I’m outnumbered. I need all the energy I can get!’
Casey was referred to the Sport Hawke’s Bay Green Prescription Maternal Programme which motivates and supports pregnant and post-natal women with healthy lifestyle changes. As well one-on-one support Casey received nutritional information and exercise options with a strong focus on the core and pelvic floor muscles.
Sport Hawke’s Bay Active Living Maternal Advisor Vanessa Oliver says she met Casey after Khyber-James was born. Casey had lots of questions: what snacks could she eat if she joined the gym and what could she cook that was healthy?
‘She wanted to soak up all the information I could give,’ says Vanessa.
Vanessa visited Casey at home and phoned regularly. The support and advice was practical. If they discussed a dinner idea on the phone Vanessa would pop the recipe in her letter box that day.
Casey was encouraged to set goals related to healthy eating and activity. Over the past 12 months the goals have changed remarkably.
‘At the start it was simple stuff like drinking more water, another one was to join Patu,’ says Casey.
Patu is a health and fitness programme developed by and for Māori which started in Hawke’s Bay. Vanessa took Casey to a Patu Wahine Toa class which allows women to bring their children. Casey loved it and not long after added a boxing class and early morning gym session into the mix. It’s not unusual for Casey to now do three workouts a day. Her next goal is completing the Hawke’s Bay Tough Guy and Gal Challenge.
‘I guess I just got hooked on how all of this makes me feel. I started out small and now we love it.’
Casey’s husband Reese shares his wife’s enthusiasm for staying fit and eating nutritious meals. They call on extended family to baby sit the children during their 3.30am hour-long workout. They say it’s ‘their precious time to enjoy together’. On her return from the gym Casey grabs another couple of hours sleep and Reese goes to work.
Vanessa says Casey has become a phenomenal cook and baker. She makes her own hummus, creates wholesome lunch boxes for her children, and is an expert at reading food packets.
‘I hardly hear from Casey now. She’s on fire. In fact I would love her to come along and talk to some of the other mums on this programme. They would get a whole lot of information and inspiration from someone who used to wing it and now aces it!’