Walking football is a widely recognised sport across the world and is ideal for older men or women to take part in if they love the game but don’t have the mobility to be running up and down a pitch. Instead of running, they can walk and help minimise any risk of injury.
The rules of walking football are very similar to that of normal football, but they have just been tweaked slightly to help protect the health and stamina of older players.
We have previously blogged about the benefits of walking. It is great for keeping active, getting fresh air and improving strength and flexibility as well as keeping the heart strong by increasing the heart rate.
Walking football has many of the same benefits as well as the added benefit of being able to socialise with other people, strike up conversations and forge friendships, therefore reducing the risk of social isolation, which is so important among the elderly generation.
It is reported that walking football began in England in 2011 and was devised by Chesterfield Community Trust, however it has been claimed that walking football was played during the interwar period, in 1932 and a charity game was played between two towns, Crewe and Derby, with both teams having a combined age of over 700.
Since the sport featured in Barclays bank advert in 2014, men and women have been starting their own walking football teams, designing their own kits and playing in tournaments through the Football Association.
The veteran football team for Wales recently won the Over 60s International Walking Football World Cup, beating France in the final and lifting the cup.
If you or a loved-one are interested in taking up walking football, you can find a Welsh team in your area by visiting https://www.walkingfootballunited.co.uk/wales, or you can try getting neighbours or friends together for your own game in a local park.