Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) may be advised to make some lifestyle changes to try and improve their general health and mental well-being. This is because there is strong evidence to suggest a link between ED and being overweight, eating a poor diet, smoking, being physically inactive, and depression and anxiety.

For some men, making lifestyle changes can be very difficult, because it may involve changing lifelong habits that are very hard to break. Finding the motivation to exercise can be more difficult for men who are overweight or suffer from depression, for example.

Getting back into shape after being inactive for a while can also be daunting, especially if you feel self-conscious in the gym or out jogging when you are carrying a few extra pounds. A group of Scottish men have come up with a novel solution to this dilemma: a football premier league where all the players must be overweight.

Gary Thorn, the league’s founder and chairperson, told BBC News that the idea was to help men lose weight and also to boost their mental wellbeing. He said: “We know for a fact that this is actually saving people’s lives. We’ve got guys in our team who have openly said to us that they wouldn’t be here without the football.”

He added: “Guys are getting fitter, guys are getting happier. They’re making new friendships, new relationships and new experiences for a lot of people. My own club, the Denny Warriors, started three years ago and that was all about getting men out and about, meeting new people, reducing their isolation and improving their physical and mental wellbeing.”

To be eligible for the teams, men must have a waist measurement of at least 38in (96cm) or a BMI of over 30. However, players face no restrictions if they do lose weight, and teams are allowed to field four players with a lower BMI, provided they are over 30 years of age.

The Warriors Premier League has 12 teams who compete over the season to win the trophy. Some of the players were once aspiring sportsmen before their careers were cut short by injury, and they have struggled to find a way to get back into sport. This has led to a deterioration in both their mental and physical health.

Stuart Chalmers, the team captain and centreback at Ayr Eagles, whose amateur footballing career was ended by knee injuries, said: “Growing up playing football and always being part

of a team, I missed that environment so the chance to get back out on a pitch, back with a good bunch of lads again and back playing football again was great.”

Some of the men struggled with isolation and anxiety during the pandemic, and have found it difficult to reintegrate into society. The supportive football team environment was therefore the perfect solution.

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