How fitness improves mental health

WELLBEING: A high-country farmer’s online fitness business is proving a winner





Living on a high-country farm, running an online fitness business and raising three children is a challenge but Kate Ivey says it’s worth it. “I love my job. I love helping people, so I just find the time,” she told The Country’s Jamie Mackay. Ivey is the woman behind DediKate, a series of short and effective workouts that she and her team of seven trainers post online for members in New Zealand and Australia. She described DediKate as “kind of like those workout DVDs” but a bit more accessible. “You see us struggling, it’s relatable, sometimes the kids come into the screen. We keep it professional but it’s down-to-earth.” Ivey lives at the eastern end of Lake Pukaki in Mackenzie Country with her husband Mark and their three children. She has a bachelor of physical education majoring in exercise prescription and management, and a bachelor of science majoring in psychology. She originally launched Kate Ivey — Fitness, Health and Inspiration in 2016, with a focus on rural women, who often had trouble accessing gyms. However, when the pandemic brought about a boom in online fitness, Ivey found her business fading into the background. “It was really hard for people to see us amongst all the noise because our previous point of difference was our healthy lifestyle approach but everyone’s doing that now.” Ivey reassessed her business and returned to her rural roots but left the door open for an urban audience. “We have women in the cities as well who love this down-to-earth, country approach to everything,” she said. DediKate also helped with members’ wellbeing, as exercise and mental health went “hand in hand”. “It helps us instantly, we feel the rush of endorphins and then, longerterm, it increases our self-efficacy, our confidence and just our all-round mental and physical wellbeing,” Ivey said. “We can’t have our physical wellbeing without our mental wellbeing and vice versa.” Taking members’ focus off weight loss and on to how they felt, also led to a more consistent exercise routine, Ivey said. “That’s been amazing.” ■ —RNZ