Aussie-Fit repeats with heart health goals

Aussie-FIT, a program set against a popular sports environment and designed to help men achieve better health, is back to support men with a history of heart disease.

The research team at Curtin University in Perth are inviting 72 blokes to take part in the 12-week program free of charge, starting in late April.

The Aussie-Fit program saw great results when it teamed with AFL teams Freemantle and the West Coast Eagles in 2019 to assist men who were overweight and obese. Those who completed all assessments lost on average 5kg of body weight at the six month follow up.

“It’s a healthy lifestyle intervention,” explains Research Associate and Sport Psychologist Registrar Brendan Smith.

“There’s an educational and physical activity component.”

Aussie-Fit was adapted from the original pilot at the University of Glasgow, that proved so successful it has continued to be rolled out at many premier league clubs. In four years, around 3000 men lost 9500 kilos.

The 2021 Aussie-Fit program will run at two WAFL clubs - South Fremantle and Swan Districts.

“We train coaches at those clubs to coach the men in motivational theory and general healthy lifestyle behaviours to promote sustained change and positive behaviours beyond the 12 weeks,” says Brendan.

Physical activities vary and are adapted to the capacity of each participant, including footy drills, some boxing and walking to get the heart rate up. For this particular program, participants will have experienced a heart-related condition, but not within the last nine months, and their BMI will be 25 and over.

The organisers will also make sure it is safe for the men to take part, by discussing the program with their GP and/or cardiologist beforehand

They hope the program – 90-minute sessions each week – will run at the footy grounds in person, but there are contingency plans should there be interruptions based on COVID-19-related community shutdowns.

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