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How Middlesbrough’s FIT BORO programme got Ged back on his feet

Day four of the EFL’s Week of Action places a focus on Health and Wellbeing.

7 April 2022

Some three years ago, Ged Canny was at his lowest ebb, seeing his overall self-confidence and mental health rapidly deteriorating.

The 60-year-old Service Manager from Middlesbrough underwent a knee replacement operation in 2019 due to an old sporting injury that had never been addressed, but the fear of repercussions of his injury kept him from doing the things he loved.

Surgery, coupled with the lack of face-to-face contact with others and decreased activity, took its toll on his physical wellbeing too with his weight increasing to 104kg and his waist size to 48 inches. Having previously been an active individual, he was forced to make the decision to give up some of his most enjoyable hobbies such as cycling, squash, and running.

That was until ne discovered FIT BORO – a combination of exercise sessions and nutritional workshops delivered by coaches from the Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation.

“I would recommend the FIT BORO programme to anyone as it has been an amazing experience for me and helped to improve my life both physically and mentally,” Ged affirmed. “I have found exercising with like-minded individuals really motivating as we are all doing it for the same reasons. I really look forward to seeing everyone every Monday night!”

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As normality started to creep back in and lockdown restrictions were being eased, he was adamant that he needed to do something about his health and wellbeing. Ged came up with an idea to organise walking football amongst his friends who had had similar experiences during the enforced lockdowns.

Through his participation, Ged was made aware by friends of the FIT BORO programme. He signed up for the programme along with a couple of friends and another 25 like-minded participants.

Andrew Dixon, a friend of Ged’s, said: “Ged has done so well on the programme and has really motivated me to stick with the course. It is so much easier doing the workouts with like-minded people, we all look forward to catching up with one another every week. With Ged`s increased fitness levels the only problem now is our walking football sessions are becoming faster and faster.”

Average weight loss statistics for the FIT FANS programme 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.

More than 90% of men and 85% of women lose weight during the programme with many losing a clinically significant amount. Data also shows that FIT FANS helps people to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary time, leading to weight loss, a significant reduction in reduction in blood pressure and improvement in self-reported mental wellbeing measures.

“It has been wonderful to see how well Ged has done on the course,” noted Paul South, the Health Coordinator at MFC Foundation. “Ged has grown in confidence and really achieved significant changes both physically and mentally. As well as increasing in confidence Ged has also inspired others to do the same, ensuring a team-like mentality on the course whereby people look forward to attending each week.”


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