We’re excited about the new season of our award-winning FAM (Football and Music) project which promotes positive physical health amongst men using mental health services in London.
Research shows that playing football provides a broad spectrum of health and fitness effects that are at least as pronounced as for running, and in some cases even better.
It can reduce blood pressure by an average of twice as much than those who decided to run – even despite the frustrations that competitive team sports can occasionally throw up! Cholesterol levels, too, can fall after playing soccer group unlike in running. One study even found that bone density increased twice as much playing soccer as in running.
Playing football can lead to improvements in mental health, too, in terms of an overall high level of flow – the optimal state that arises when you are fully immersed in a challenging task. It is the feeling you get when you are fully focused, engaged, motivated and happy in whatever the activity is that you’re doing. Psychologists believe that regularly experiencing flow is key to living a happy life – you want to get as much healthy ‘flow’ experience as you can.
The inherent challenge, the dynamic nature of the game and the unique puzzles it presents us with, improves concentration, and requires us to engage and use our brain, making it as much a mental work-out as it is physical.
All of these outcomes can literally mean the difference between life and death in a demographic of males from largely black, minority ethnic backgrounds, affected primarily by psychotic diagnoses. The shocking reality is that for this group the average age of death is 20 years younger than the mainstream population.
Key Changes FAM (Football and Music) meets weekly in Central London to play friendly small-sided games followed by a social music session in our studio building next door. Expect a welcoming group of like-minded folk, thrills and spills on the pitch led by qualified FA coaches, healthy snacks and juice bar, a lively DJ and Open Mic session playing an energising mix of reggae, hip hop, funk, soul and much, more!
For more information about FAM (Football and Music) and our work providing music engagement and recovery services in hospitals and the community for people experiencing mental health problems see the Key Changes website.