About 15 Auckland men who do little or no exercise will get the support this year to turn that around, thanks to the initiative of one Unitec student.
Michael McLeod, who is studying towards a Master of Osteopathy, has recruited a group of fellow osteopathy students who will become the support network for the men, helping them set fitness goals and achieve them, while monitoring their musculoskeletal health.
The group is looking for around 15 inactive Auckland men who are willing to take part. As well as aiming for the big goal of the adidas Auckland Marathon, the students and their recruits will be building up their fitness by training for the Unitec Run & Walk Events Series. The series of five running and walking events goes from July to September, and is the official lead-up series to the marathon.
Michael, who also has a Bachelor of Applied Science from Unitec, as well as a teaching diploma and a degree in physical education, exercise and sport science, dreamed up the initiative as a way to help improve men's health outcomes.
Having received a scholarship from the Men's Health Trust New Zealand to help pay for his studies, Michael was keen to pay it forward by driving an initiative that would improve men's health outcomes through increased physical activity.
"I had a goal this year that I wanted to run the adidas Auckland Marathon and so decided to recruit other osteopathy students who were interested in running a marathon event as well, so we could train together.
"The course is full-on and it is nice to have an outlet, so it was my plan to help others who wanted to run the half or full to achieve that."
So far his Unitec group has attracted about 15 students, who are each seeking to encourage one inactive man to become involved, either in the Unitec training group, or to be supported to reach a fitness goal on his own.
The men will be encouraged and monitored by the students, will receive a targeted training programme and a Men's Heath Trust New Zealand running singlet, and will be able to attend informal supervised group training sessions at Unitec, with other training to be done independently or in smaller groups.
"While this is still a small-scale project," says Michael, "I hope that next year we can build on the foundation laid and grow the group even more."
Men who would like to boost their fitness - and improve their health - can contact Michael McLeod email@example.com
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