Over the course of the 2022/23 season we will hear from a wide range of local people who have benefitted from Arsenal in the Community projects. Here we find out more about how Kevin has lost weight and been revitalised by taking part in Arsenal’s Shape Up programme.
Project: Shape Up (Men’s Weight Management Programme)
Established: September 2022
Participants since starting: 60
Weekly participants: 50
Sessions: Shape Up courses run for 12 weeks, three times per year (January, April and September starts)
Available to: Men aged 18-65 with a BMI of 27.5 or above
About the participant: Kevin is a 64-year-old from Camden who has seen great results from taking part in the Shape Up programme.
Participant Kevin says… “I first heard about the programme from my local GP practice, as they thought I might be a suitable candidate for the scheme.
“I was only aware of how well the Arsenal team was doing this season and none of its community delivery. I had reached the stage where I wanted to do something to lose weight, but I didn’t know the best way forward for me. When I received the invitation to attend the programme it seemed to be the perfect opportunity. It was a no-brainer.
“At the time I was feeling less confident with physical tasks such as lifting and gentle jogging. I had thought it was because I was getting older, but now I see it was really much more because I was overweight and unfit.
“The first time I went it was a very welcoming atmosphere. I felt that I had much in common with others in the group. Everyone seemed to be at a very similar stage in needing to lose weight and get fitter. I never thought I would have enjoyed the boxing exercises but it was great fun, and we didn’t actually hit each other! Walking football was so much more exciting than I would ever have imagined – it felt like being a teenager again.
“There is a real sense of camaraderie in the group that helps us to keep going. I look forward to building on our friendships after the course. One of the participants in our group has arranged for us to play walking football on a weekly basis starting in January.
“The Arsenal staff have been very inspirational and encouraging. The presentations that they give each week are very informative and delivered expertly in an engaging manner that encourages group discussion. Plus the physical exercises they give us are highly varied and great fun. No activity is made to feel overwhelming and great care is made to ensure the participants exercise safely throughout.
“It has made me feel much younger, more agile and it boosted my confidence in physical activities. It has been rather good for my self-esteem and Shape Up has certainly put me onto a different trajectory. It’s up to me now to keep on track.
“Although this may seem rather obvious, the most satisfying aspect is the process of being patient and then seeing the effect of small changes building up gradually each week, eventually leading to substantial change and a nice surprise at the end of the course.
“After leaving my hometown to try to make my way in the world, Arsenal gives me a sense of belonging in London. Just grab the opportunity if it’s given – it is very enjoyable, you won’t regret it and it will probably change your life for the better. It has made me feel much more positive about the future.”
You can also see more photos from our Shape Up sessions in this special gallery feature here
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