Project title: Fight Together Against Heart Disease

 

Award – £8,400

 

Date: June 2021 – March 2022

The Problem

Coronary heart disease is one of the single, biggest killers in the UK. When combined with the decrease in activity that has accompanied COVID-19, this is even more of a threat to individuals’ health.

‘Fight Together Against Heart Disease’ was designed to improve and promote the importance of heart health among the community, working predominantly with BAME men, over the age of 35, in a deprived area in London.

This target group are disproportionately affected by a lack of access to quality sports provision and are more likely to engage in unhealthy eating practices, putting them more at risk of heart problems in the future.

The Project

This project worked with 49 members of the community to reduce their risk of developing heart disease, by adopting a three-tiered approach:

  • Firstly, physical fitness was improved through providing non-contact boxing sessions. Coached gym sessions, self-train session plans and home workouts were all provided.
  • The second aim of the project was to encourage healthy eating. Group members were supported to make better food choices and were given advice on how to create affordable, simple and wholesome meals.
  • Thirdly, on the project focused on stress release. Boxing requires focus of the mind and provides an opportunity to physically release stress onto the boxing bag itself, and mindfulness and deep breathing also formed part of the sessions.

In taking this holistic approach, the project promoted long-term change for each participant through the discipline of boxing.

The Benefits

The benefits to heart health were measured using surveys and charts, and some chose to record their weight loss during the programme. The surveys showed the participants felt healthier and are now regularly exercising. Throughout the project, it was found that:

  • 64% of the group members now rate their eating habits 7 or above out of 10.
  • 63% rate their current knowledge on nutrition as 8 out of 10 or above.
  • 29% of group members lost weight during the programme.

“Many group members have fallen in love with boxing, giving them a reason to exercise, not just for the sake of exercising. Learning a new skill and boxing with a likeminded group gave them something to look forward to, this wasn’t just about getting sweaty. We have seen numerous participants continue to box with us in other sessions as a result. This long-term change is exactly what we were hoping for”

Project leader, Rachel Bower

Testimonials

‘I really enjoyed these sessions and fell back in love with boxing. I realised I haven’t been prioritising my health, but this is now something I want to focus on. I find it a lot easier now I am doing something I enjoy and can find ideas and inspiration around meals in one place. The weekly sessions were the most fun I’ve had getting fit in years. The training was attentive and considerate of my current fitness level and goals, and it really felt good and engaging learning a new skill in the process. Plus, the fact sheets helped me retain what I learnt in the sessions and eat better’.

Colin Wardle, Fight Together Against Heart Disease Group Member

‘The programme provided guidance on key aspects surrounding nutrition and boxing – its hard to find the right sources sometimes, in addition to having to sift through conflicting information on the web etc – so it was really useful to have it all provided in a single source

Fight Together Against Heart Disease Group Member

‘It helped me with my anxiety and gave me an adrenaline rush because with ADHD I have less dopamine in my brain but doing the training often gave me energy because of the extra dopamine’

Fight Together Against Heart Disease Group Member

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