A program that aims to improve the health of adult male hockey fans is coming to the Surrey area, in partnership with the WHL Vancouver Giants and Surrey’s Tong Louie YMCA.
It’s called Hockey Fans in Training, or Hockey FIT, described as a three-month, off-ice “healthy lifestyle program for men who are overweight or obese, between 35 and 65 years of age, and fans of their local hockey team.”
This program aims to motivate Canadian adult males to eat healthier foods and become more physically active by incorporating participants’ passion for hockey into the initiative.
Based in Ontario and now expanded west, it’s offered free-of-charge as part of a federally-funded research study.
“We hope to recruit at least 40 men in the Surrey region,” said Brooke Bliss, the program’s communications lead.
Online registration, which involves a Body Mass Index calculation and questions about age and general health, ends April 15 at hockeyfansintraining.org.
The program includes an education component focusing on healthy eating and the importance of physical activity, as well as an exercise component, involving aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises.
“Connecting to participants’ passion for hockey, the program incorporates activities like stick handling drills to promote being active and includes the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the team’s home rink,” says a news release.
Hockey FIT was created at the London, Ontario-based Western University, and is backed by $2.5M in funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), according to the release.
“Canadian men live on average, four years less than their female counterparts,” says a post on the program website. “Men are more likely than women to have obesity and are at a greater risk for preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Established in 2014, Hockey Fans In Training (Hockey FIT) was developed to address this growing health inequity and provide men with the tools and resources to change their lifestyle for the better.”
A “stats tracker” on the website says the program has involved 1,300 participants, 35-plus coaches trained and 40-plus teams in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).