Walking Rugby

Ospreys in the Community to run lifestyle intervention project alongside Walking Rugby

Ospreys in the Community announced that they will be running a lifestyle intervention project to work in tandem with Walking Rugby.

The project is in collaboration with Sports and Exercise sciences at Swansea University that aims to increase physical activity and reduce the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity in adults aged 18-75yrs in South Wales.

There will also be a focus on whether these positive behaviours will continue over a prolonged period of time.

The project is built upon the health screenings that were conducted at different clubs (Baglan, Briton Ferry, Ystradgynlais, Neath Spartans) which showed that the people who were engaging with walking rugby had increased risk markers of cardiometabolic disease. Examples being high blood pressure, high central obesity and high blood glucose.

Over the past 18 months, over 50 people from the above clubs across the region took part in the health screenings. Participants involved exhibited a greater awareness of their own health and were motivated to make changes to their lifestyle.

From initial screenings it was discovered that 65% of people that took part were at risk of cardiometabolic disease. However, after engaging with the screening process, these individuals were able to reduce diabetes risk markers after 16 weeks.

The project aims to achieve the goals of improving health and physical activity levels through 3 methods: weekly walking rugby sessions, lifestyle and education sessions, and a physical activity programme outside of the sessions.

Markers of cardiometabolic health will be measured during health screenings (height, weight, body composition, blood pressure and blood sugar and fat levels) at baseline: week 0, week 12, week 24 and week 52.

The project will be split into 3 phases. The first phase will be the researcher led phase which will last 12 weeks. This will include an introduction to the programme, where participants will receive the most support with the education and walking rugby sessions to the participants.

The second phase will be Community led, also lasting 12 weeks. This is a transition phase where we start to give the clubs more ownership of the walking rugby sessions. Education sessions will continue, but there will be an emphasis on giving people the tools to solve their own health related problems.

The final phase will be around maintenance and will last 28 weeks. This will take a “hands off” approach to see whether what has been implemented earlier on in the programme is sustainable. Clubs will run their own walking rugby sessions, while the education sessions and physical activity programme will stop. There will be final test at the end of the programme to see if there are any changes from the beginning.

Speaking on the project, Community Foundation Manager for Ospreys in the Community, Tom Sloane, said:

“Walking & touch rugby are gathering real momentum in the region, allowing for continued participation in group activities.  It’s really pleasing to see so many clubs champion different formats of the game and we want to support wherever we can.  We have already played host to several festivals, countless refereeing and helps set up new clubs. 

“The lifestyle project that is funded by “West Glamorgan Partnership” has allowed us to work with Swansea University and PhD student Ben to really understand the impact of these projects, but also to give genuine feedback and health advice to those participating.”

Ben Bone, the Swansea University PHD student involved with the project, said: “This project is a lifestyle intervention that wants to use walking rugby as a platform to help people in the community improve their overall health and wellbeing, and physical activity levels. The intervention will be based in local rugby clubs across the region and includes regular health screenings, weekly health and lifestyle education sessions followed by walking rugby training and games.

“We will also provide a pedometer-based walking programme and exercises to break up long periods of sitting, which participants can complete outside of these sessions to increase their activity levels. In addition, we want to help support the community to recognise and maintain habits and behaviours that will help them to lead a healthy lifestyle into the future. This study is open to adults aged 18-75 who would be interested in taking part in this programme.”

If your club is wanting to start Walking Rugby, then get in touch now with: ben.bone@ospreysrugby.com

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