• Phillipa Batts teaching a never2old class.

Phillipa Batts - helping those never2old to keep moving

Phillipa Batts is Operations Manager for the never2old™ programme at AUT. At school she spent as much time as possible in the gym training and competing in gymnastic competitions and coaching other budding gymnasts. Following a nursing career, she brought up three boys with her husband and enjoyed active pastimes and supporting the boys in their sports then later enrolled at AUT for some more study and a new career. Channel's Nikki Davidson finds out more.

Nikki Davidson: What drew you to the never2old programme initially?
Phillipa Batts: While studying for my bachelor’s degree in sport and recreation, majoring in nutrition and physical activity, I was approached by an AUT staff member and long-time friend to see if I was interested in joining them to deliver a programme to support older people with improving their strength. This saw the beginning of my journey with never2old. The role seemed to be a nice mash-up of skills and experience and a personal passion for health and wellness. The programme provides an evidence-based response to the unique needs of many older people with little experience in a gym environment and who may have health needs that require consideration and management to safely meet their fitness goals.

ND: How long have you been involved in it?
PB: I began working part-time in 2006 coordinating the participation in activities offered during the sessions. With the growth of the programme the role became full-time and then in 2010 I took over the role of Operations Manager.

ND: What qualifications or training did you undertake to do this?
Completed my nursing training on leaving school. As a “mature” student I completed my Bachelor of Sport and Recreation and then a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Science: Older Adult Health.

ND: Do you have a role model?
PB: I am constantly impressed by the older people who despite many challenges, continue to set new health goals for themselves and see improved outcomes and better quality of life as a result.

ND: How do you keep fit yourself?
PB: I’m a huge fan of high intensity exercise. I attend a box fit class twice a week, do some interval training on a spin bike, some body weight exercise circuits and Pilates once a week. I love to walk in the bush and hills when I get the opportunity.

ND: Can you describe the feeling you get when someone in your group achieves a big goal?
PB: The satisfaction of seeing someone achieve an important goal is huge. The thing about success is that it can be exponential – once you succeed in something you weren’t sure you could do, you start to look around for other things you could try. A whole lot of possibilities open up. For our older people, it means life can still be an adventure! That’s huge and I love being part of their journeys.

ND: What other sport-related activity would you like to be involved with?
PB: I bought a good road bike a few years ago, but it has largely stayed in my garage. I’d love to do some regular bike rides ideally with my husband.

PB: In five years time I hope to…Have more time to spend with my grandchildren. I have five beautiful grandkids aged five down to one year old. I love being with them and want to continue to have the energy and wherewithal to keep up with them and explore the world again, seeing it through their eyes as they discover new abilities and experiences.

Issue 112 August 2020