The Foundation of Light’s FIT BLACK CATS health programme offers vital support to adults as evidence grows of links between obesity and an increased risk from coronavirus.
These concerns have seen the government kickstart a national campaign to help people lose weight and eat more healthily.
Our FIT BLACK CATS scheme, which was launched in partnership with the EFL Trust has been running across Wearside since the turn of the year and inspires people to do just that.
Sunderland fan Ben Devine joined the initiative back in January and by his own admission had real health issues and a poor lifestyle, taking in no exercise or water and then drinking and eating badly on matchdays.
The 63-year-old embraced the weekly fitness sessions and made a great effort to introduce a healthier routine. He also became a real motivator in the group, inspiring others as he lost of 12kg over the course of the programme.
The biggest test for Ben was still to come as the country was put into lockdown; this could have easily seen him fall back into his unhealthy ways.
Government statistics show that nearly 8% virus patients have been obese, and the north east has the highest rate of obesity-related hospital admissions in England.
With Ben considered as one of our high-risk participants a big effort was made to ensure he continued his journey and not see him undo his hard work.
During lockdown he continued to engage in our weekly tasks and Zoom fitness sessions, and was very active in our Facebook group, encouraging others.
“I can’t believe how much better I feel!” Ben explained “I loved having the group to work with as they really pushed me and there was no chance they’d let me give up.
“I have much more of a routine and I feel good after exercise so I knew I needed to keep it up during lockdown and not let my bad habits return.”
Ben was one of 13 members of the FITBLACKCATS programme, who cumulatively lost 69kg across the course of the 12 weeks.
The scheme was introduced by the EFL as free health programme for men and women aged 35-65 who are looking to lose weight, get fitter and lead a more active life.
The 12-week programme is delivered by coaching staff from SAFC’s official charity.
Written By Kate Smith
30 July 2020