Mens Health Month; How Fit Fans Is Providing Benefits Beyond Weight Loss
Today marks the beginning of Mens Health Awareness Month. Football Clubs have a unique draw that allows us to reach people that other organisations struggle to engage. This is particularly true of our FIT FANS programme, which uses the draw of the Football Club to enable people to make sustainable changes that improves their health.
Funded by Sport England through the National Lottery and run at around 40 EFL Clubs across the country. It is a free health programme for men and women aged 35-65 who are looking to lose weight, get fitter and lead a more active life.
Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme are impressive and exceed those of many other programmes. On average women lose well over 3kg and men over 5.5kg by the end of the 12 weeks. We also have evidence that lifestyle change and weight loss is sustained over the following 12 months. More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount. Our data shows FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.
However, the benefits extend much further than just weight loss, with many participants commenting on the positive effects it has had on their mental health and social activity.
Stephen Snell attended FIT FANS with Charlton Athletic Community Trust credits the programme for “changing his life” as he lost over 2 stone in weight and adopted a healthier diet and exercise regime.
Furthermore, FIT FANS has the ability to indirectly help those close to participants too. FIT BANTAMS gave Jonathan’s children a fitter, happier dad after he completed the 12-week programme. He said: “I now play football with my kids on a regular basis and my family, friends and colleagues have all mentioned how much more relaxed I am.”
The programme brings a diverse group of individuals together to form an environment that mirrors that of a family. A FIT ROVERS participant echoes: “Taking part in FIT ROVERS was the best thing I’ve ever done. The sessions and workouts are brilliant, but the camaraderie and banter is even better. I lost over a stone and a half but even more importantly, I feel like I’ve learned to enjoy myself again and that people like me, which has made me like myself again.”
In 2020, the programme won the Leaders in Sports Community Award which showcases the most innovative organisations and people driving the sports industry forward.