Men across Wakefield District seeking to shed a few pounds can benefit from a unique partnership of local rugby clubs as Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers and Wakefield Wildcats have joined forces with Wakefield Council to launch the ‘Give Us a Try: Manage Your Weight’ project, a men only programme which will be free to participants .
Led by staff from the clubs and their charitable foundation trusts, the programme will focus on increasing activity levels and how men can learn about diet and healthy living for weight loss, how to set goals and monitor their eating and physical activity, and to obtain assistance in making long-term changes to maintain losses.
Commenting on the project, Cllr Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “This is a fantastic scheme which offers people an alternative to going to the gym and gives them the chance to try a sport in their local community.
“Our district has a proud rugby history and it’s only right that we capitalise on the skills and expertise within our three clubs to offer this great opportunity for men to increase their fitness and lose weight. We expect there will also be a great social aspect as the guys who get involved are likely to be fans of the teams and it’s a great complement to our own Sporty Mates programme, which is for men over 30 who aren’t currently getting any exercise.”
The programme is aimed at men below 65 years of age who do not presently exercise with a view to entice them to their local rugby rather than visit a gym. It is recognised that men do not readily take an active part in their own weight management and the opportunity of becoming involved at the club that they may support may provide the impetus to become more active and improve eating habits to enable a sustained weight loss to be achieved and maintained.
The emphasis will be on participation in activities and sharing of good advice but there will be effective evaluation of the success of the programme by monitoring changes in the Body Mass Index of the participants and measurements of various parts of the body, for example, waist, thighs and hips. Each club will deliver a programme unique to its own fans and local community.
In a similar programme run at Scottish football clubs it was found that men who did the programme lost nearly 5kg more weight than men in a comparison group. They also had lower waist sizes, lower percentage body fat and blood pressure, reported higher levels of physical activity, learned to have better diets and felt better about themselves. The club setting was a crucial factor in attracting men to the programme.
This new project will complement Wakefield Council’s Sporty Mates programme which is for men over 30 who aren’t currently doing any exercise. It offers access to seven sports – rugby, football, running, boxing, cycling, swimming and golf – at discounted rates.