Men on the Move - "I’ve had to buy a new suit- my own one is falling off me"
A quote from one of the male participants from Men on the Move who lost a staggering 18 cm from he’s waist circumference as part of the 12 week physical activity programme delivered through the GAA club.
|**Club**||Mungret St Pauls GAA|
|**Location **||Moneteen (caters for a huge catchment area including Raheen, Mungret, Dooradoyle, Ballycummin, Cloughkeating, Ballykeeffe and Gouldavoher)|
|**Codes**||Hurling, Football, Camogie and Ladies Football|
*Step by Step Case Study *
As part of the GAA’s Healthy Club Project (HCP) Mungret St Pauls expressed interest in the GAA’s Men on the Move (MoM) programme which is aimed at adult men over the age of thirty to support them to become active, have fun and improve their fitness levels. It involves twice weekly structured physical activity sessions over 12 weeks that are led by a qualified instructor to a level and pace that suits the participants.
The club were keen to engage with this cohort of men who are typically referred to as “hard to reach” for a number of reasons including retirement, they’re children grown up so they have lost contact with the club or men who may be new to the surrounding areas.
This programme supports the club’s Health & Wellbeing Statement a commitment to supporting members’ physical, mental and social health. The club adopted the GAA’s Physical Activity Guidelines also as a supporting document
The MoM programme is funded by the HSE in partnership with Limerick Local Sports Partnership (LSP - http://www.limericksports.ie/) and the GAA (firstname.lastname@example.org). The LSP are the main coordinators who source a locally qualified physical activity instructor to deliver the programme in the GAA club. Their role is crucial to the success of the programme as these experts have experience coordinating gender specific initiatives and allow for some flexibility within groups and minor tailoring of the programme to ensure the core components of the programme are achieved in a way that best suits the men’s needs. The club also engaged with the Health Centre for Behaviour Research in Waterford IT to ensure the programme was evaluated as part of the GAA’s HCP. Support was also provided from Limerick GAA’s County Health & Wellbeing Committee (email@example.com)
Within the club one main person was responsible for coordinating the promotion and recruitment element of the programme, as well as organising a venue for the twice weekly sessions. This partnership worked well as the club took responsibility for this element and the LSP provided the expertise and resources needed to deliver the programme. The club benefitted greatly from this strong partnerships with the LSP who have mutual goals in terms of increasing participation in sport and future projects have been discussed.
The programme took place in Mungret St Paul’s GAA club between March- June 2017 over a 12 week period which involved twice weekly outdoor physical activity sessions and two workshops on nutrition and well-being for men. At the start of the programme the LSP coordinator came to the club to give a presentation on what the programme would entail and answer any questions or concerns the men may have. On week one weight, height, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, time to run a mile and general wellbeing was measured and again at week 12 and 26 weeks follow up. Initially 62 men turned up for the programme with a steady forty participants attending twice weekly. The programme culminated with a 5km run/walk celebratory event plus a trip to Croke Park to enjoy a hurling game.
Impact on the Club
The programme was a huge success in terms of improved fitness levels and weight loss. While the majority of men saw reductions in their waist line, one man in particular lost a staggering 18 cm from he’s waist circumference which equates to a 36% reduction in cardiovascular risk, which includes heart attack and stroke.
I’ve had to buy a new suit- my own one is falling off me’ **
Most importantly the benefits men experienced in terms of social connectedness was huge as the programme brought men together from the surrounding areas who were new to the club and provided them with the opportunity to exercise at their own pace and meet new people. Some of the personal developments reported by the men included enhanced confidence, communication and self- care:
*“The Men on The Move programme has created new friendships and left me feeling more positive about myself”
“I looked forward to the sessions to switch off and have a bit of crack with the lads after a tough day at work”*
Benefits for Mungret St Pauls was also evident as they opened up their doors to men from the wider community, attracting new people to the club and perhaps increasing their volunteer base. There are plans to run the programme again, but possibly at an earlier stage as the numbers slightly dipped approaching the summer months so perhaps Jan/ Feb- April/May would be a better window to engage men.
The club promoted the event mainly through social media, Facebook and Twitter but also through club notes, signage and word of mouth. The LSP also promoted the programme through their own channels.