‘FFIT’: Fit and healthy thanks to Bayer 04 volunteers

Deserved recognition for an exemplary campaign: The RUFZEICHEN GESUNDHEIT! (Call Sign Health) foundation awarded the ‘Fußballfans im Training’ project (‘FFIT’) a health prize at the end of November. Bayer 04 started organising these courses for their XXL fans in cooperation with the IFT North, German cancer research organisation and the mm sports GmbH four years ago and is thereby providing important preventive action in the area of health as are many other first and second division clubs.

Leverkusen have offered XXL fans an all-round provision in the areas of exercise and diet since January 2017. As the first professional club in Germany, Bayer 04 established a separate course for female Werkself fans. The free training and advice course lasts for a total of 12 weeks. Jennifer Weber (Club) and Frank Linde (Fan liaison) together with their team from Bayer 04 have invested a lot of time, work and, above all, passion in this project.

"You have to pay a big compliment to the organisers. How successful their work is, is evident from the results year after year. The lives of many of the participants have changed at a stroke after the course," said Meinolf Sprink, the fans/community director at Bayer 04 after the award given to the programme for "outstanding achievements and projects in the area of German health care." There are people have completed the course who went on to take part in half marathons.

Contacts built to last

After 12 weeks under the direction of club employees, the participants register encouraging results – but that's not all. Bayer 04 regularly organise get-togethers so that the FFIT community grows year by year. Sprink: "That means people stay in contact and motivate each other to carry on."

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, the FFIT organisers have endeavoured to keep the participants being together even if that's through different means by force of circumstance and also continually in observance of the rules set by the authorities. For example, a group met in Neuland Park in the summer and there is regular online training. The aim is always to provide the best possible support for Werkself fans on their way to health and fitness.

Bayer 04 will announce future events via the club platforms at the appropriate time.

About FFIT:
The ‘Fußballfans im Training’ (FFIT) project was established in the 2016/17 season for XXL fans in Germany's top two divisions and carried out in cooperation with the Institute for Therapy and Health Research (IFT North) and the German cancer research organisation. The aim for FFIT in Germany is to gain the support of as many clubs as possible and involve a huge number of fans. As a balanced diet, less weight and greater fitness have a number of positive effects: In addition to an improved feeling of wellbeing and more energy there is also a reduced risk of contracting cancer.

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