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Drivers on healthy journey

• Howick and Pakuranga Times

THUMBS UP: Bus drivers Tia Tunai, Ioasa Latu and Noelleen Randell, with Body Business gym owner Zak Nothling, are trimmer and healthier after completing a lifestyle programme. Times photo Bruce Nicholson.

DOZENS of kilos have been shed by bus drivers taking part in an employer-sponsored health challenge.

Ten men and women from Howick and Eastern Buses have lost inches and gained a new lease on life thanks to the six-month programme.

Sheryll Otway, operations manager at the bus company on Ti Rakau Drive, tackled the weighty issue of driver health mid-last year.

Her decision to run the programme was prompted by the realisation that many employees had health problems including gout, diabetes and obesity.

“It’s absolutely amazing what they’ve achieved,” says Ms Otway. “Their whole self-esteem and motivation is completely different. They’re just different people.”

During the challenge drivers were given monthly medical tests and free membership and nutrition advice from East Tamaki gym Body Business.

Owner Zak Nothling, the goaltender for the New Zealand ice hockey team and national champions the Botany Swarm, says sensible eating was the most important part of the drivers’ programme.

“We were trying to teach them the basic habits of living a healthy lifestyle,” says Mr Nothling. “The exercise was almost secondary.”

Health benefits experienced by the drivers include weight loss, reduced uric acid levels and lower blood pressure.

“I’m really happy everyone has still continued on after the challenge,” says Mr Nothling. “They all did so well.”

Noelleen Randell, Tia Tunai and Ioasa Latu were among the group giving their health an overhaul.

“I’ve got a new pair of pants,” says Noelleen, with a laugh. “My family sees the difference and I feel good. It was hard to start, but you know what it’s for.”

Once the Glen Innes resident knew she’d been chosen for the challenge, quitting wasn’t an option.


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